Genesis Chapter 4 and 5 – John Karmelich
1. Chapter 4 is the story of Cain and Abel, the first two children of Adam & Eve.
a) In Chapter 3 we had the introduction of sin into the world.
b) In Chapter 4, one generation later we see the full effect of sin unto the world.
c) In Chapter 5, we see God beginning to work to remedy the world of the sin problem.
i) Much of Chapter 4 focuses on the “ungodly” offspring of Cain.
ii) Chapter 5 gives part of the genealogy of a separate offspring, that of his brother Seth. Through Seth, comes the promise of the Messiah.
iii) The genealogies of Chapters 4 and 5 are meant to be read in contrast to each other.
2. My emphasis in teaching Genesis is not on “how” or “when” but “why”?
a) So, with that in mind, why did God want us to know that Cain killed Abel?
i) To me, the key verse of this chapter is God speaking in Verse 7. It says, “But if you (Cain) do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it." (Genesis 4:7b, NIV)
ii) The chapter itself is all about sin and its affects upon the world.
iii) It also lists some of Cain’s descendants. There is a “why” purpose to that as well and it has to do with the long-term affects of sin upon a person.
iv) Most of the chapter focuses on the sins of Cain. Cain chose to let sin “have him” as opposed to Cain conquering sin.
b) Chapter 5 is mostly a genealogy of Cain’s other brother Seth.
i) The main reason to combine Chapters 4 and 5 is to compare and contrast the lives of Cain and Seth.
3. There are several New Testament Verses that comment on the story of Cain & Abel.
a) We’ll discuss them in this lesson as they help to understand the stories.
b) There is a bible principal to remember here. The “Old” is revealed in the “New”. That means that the commentary in the New Testament usually reveals the purposes behind the word-pictures and stories as told in the Old Testament. This is a case we have here.
4. Before I begin, it is easy to get the names Cain & Abel mixed up. For those of us who have short-term memories, we occasionally ask ourselves, “Now which one killed which one again?
a) Here is a bad joke to help you not get the names mixed up: J
b) When did Cain kill Abel? As soon as he was “able”! J
c) Yes, that was terrible. But it will help you to remember which character is which.
5. Let’s get back to the sin issue. That is the key point here.
a) Peter said, “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1st Peter 5:8, NIV)
b) Compare that to: “sin is crouching at your (Cain’s) door; it desires to have you, but you (Cain) must master it.” (Genesis 4:7b, NIV).
c) The same thought is in view here. It is about the age-old battle against sin.
d) As I grow as a Christian, there are a few things I have learned about sin:
i) 1) Sin never dies of old age. No matter how much time you spend in prayer, no matter how much you go to church and bible conferences, etc., sin is always there.
a) That does not mean you give up and say, “well I can’t help it, it’s just the way you are!” It means that it is a life-long battle.
b) God designed us that way to keep us close to him.
ii) 2) Sin comes when we get our focus off of God. Life is a constant battle of “our” will for our lives versus “God’s” will at any one moment. We focus on our desire for the moment, or worry about something, or are angry about something, and we immediately forget all the biblical principals we ever learned and willfully turn away from God wants us at any one moment.
iii) 3) Ok, if we “can’t win” against sin and we “can’t get out of the game” (of sin), what is the use? What is the remedy?
a) I love how the Living Bible Paraphrases Paul’s response to this question:
b) “So you see how it is: my new life tells me to do right, but the old nature that is still inside me loves to sin. Oh, what a terrible predicament I’m in! Who will free me from my slavery to this deadly lower nature? Thank God! It has been done by Jesus Christ our Lord. He has set me free.” (Romans 7:24-25, The Living Bible).
c) What we do as Christians is “exhale” and say, “I am not condemned. Jesus paid the price for my sins, past, present and future and He has great plans for my eternal life. I don’t have to worry. Nothing this world can do to me can compare to the riches I will receive for eternity.”
d) With that in perspective, we as Christians begin to live a life of gratitude toward God. It is called the “attitude of gratitude”. I have found during those moments is when I “master” sin not due to my self-discipline, but due to my gratefulness that God is in charge of my life, and not me.
e) Ok, I’ve now way wandered off topic. I hate when I do that. J
6. Chapter 4, Verse 1: Adam lay with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, "With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man."
a) The word “lay” is better translated “knew” as in “Adam knew his wife” (NKJV).
b) The bible is not anti-sexual intercourse. God designed it for our joy.
c) We don’t even know if this is the first time they had sexual intercourse. The text just says that at this time, they became pregnant.
d) Remember in Chapter 3, God told Eve that she would have increased pain in bearing children. (Genesis 3:16) God gave Eve the ability to “forget about that for the moment” J in the passion of sexual relationship.
i) God also told Eve in that same verse that her desire will be for her husband.
ii) Sexual relationship is a way for husbands and wives to “connect” and is one way that women can fulfill that inherit need of a desire for their husband.
e) In Chapter 3, Adam named his wife “Eve” as she is the “mother of all living”. (Gen. 3:20).
i) With that Adam understood, that a redeemer would come through Eve that would lead Adam and Eve back to the “good tree”, which is the “tree of life”.
ii) In a direct-sense that statement is not true. No good deed would lead Adam & Eve back to the Garden of Eden.
iii) In an indirect (prophetic) sense, that statement is true. Through some descendant of Eve, the Messiah would come to pay the price for sins so that all who believe in that Messiah can life in paradise with God. Again, the “tree of life” is mentioned in the last chapter of the bible (Revelation 22) and reappears for us one day.
iv) So here is Eve thinking, “I’m having this baby named Cain. Cain means to “bring forth”. The idea here is that Eve thinks that “this baby” is the one who will be the redeemer. After all, I’ve just been through a lot of bad labor pains, and I don’t want to go through that again, so this better be it.” J
v) It is always considered the hope of every Jewish woman to be the Mother of the Messiah. For thousands of years, that is the greatest hope of every Jewish woman. That is why Mary made the statement “From now on all generations will call me blessed”. (Luke 1:48, NIV)
vi) Well, some years past, and Eve thought, well, maybe I was wrong about Cain.
a) Can you imagine how hard Adam and Eve probably tried to raise Cain?
b) Can you imagine how their heart was broken when he killed Abel?
c) Most Christian parents pray hard for their children. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the “free-will factor” is always part of everyone’s life.
7. Verse 2: Later she gave birth to his brother Abel. Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil.
a) Let’s jump ahead to Genesis 5:4 for a second:
i) “After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters.”
ii) The bible only mentions 3 children by name from Adam: Cain, Abel and Seth.
iii) Adam and Eve had lots of children. Genesis 5:5 says Adam lived a total of 930 years. You can get a lot of child-dependency-tax-deductions in 930 years. J
iv) The point here is that Cain and Abel were singled out for this story. They were not the only children of Adam and Eve.
b) Both Cain and Abel had occupations that were biblically acceptable.
c) There is nothing wrong with being either a farmer or a sheepherder.
d) God said in Chapter 3 that the ground is “cursed” due to the sin of Adam and that Adam (and his descendants) would have to “work the ground” to get produce (See Gen. 3:17).
e) Remember Adam & Eve received animal skins to cover their nakedness. (See Gen. 3:21).
i) Somehow, they understood the word-picture taught throughout the bible that the “shedding of blood is needed for the forgiveness of sins”. (Hebrews 9:22)
ii) Therefore, there is nothing wrong with being a sheepherder. At this point in time, God only ordained eating fruits and vegetables. Meat eating would not come until after the flood was over. Besides supplying wool, I believe Adam & Eve somehow understood that the purpose of raising sheep is to provide animal sacrifices for the remission of sin.
8. Verse 3: In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the LORD. 4 But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The LORD looked with favor on Abel and his offering, 5 but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.
a) To understand the difference between Cain’s offering and Abel’s offering look at the description of the offerings by Abel and the lack of any description of Cain’s offerings.
i) Cain’s offering was “some” of the fruits of the soil.
ii) Abel’s offering was the “fat portions” and the “first born” of the flock.
iii) Let me put this in perspective. Abel was saying, “I trust God to provide for the future. Therefore, I’m going to give the first of what I earned (“firstborn”) as a reminder to me that God is going to provide for the future.”
a) Cain was saying in effect, “Do I really have to go to church again this Sunday? Didn’t I just go a few weeks ago? I’m going to miss the first half of the game if I go. OK, let me pick a random sample of some fruit that I grew just to show my family that I can do this religious stuff as well.” J
I may be reading too
much into this, but I see Cain as not caring too much about God at this
point. It is almost as if Cain is
saying “What, what’s wrong with this offering?
What do you want from me, blood?
I came to your stupid offering and I brought some stuff.
So I didn’t pick the best like Abel. What, does that make him holier-than-thou now?
i) That is the way many people feel about church. They go now and then, to alleviate their guilt.
ii) “But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. (1st Samuel 15:22, NIV)
iii) You can’t come to church on “your terms”. Christianity is all about obedience to what God wants for our lives.
9. Verse 6: Then the LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."
a) In a few verses, Cain is going to murder his brother Abel.
i) God is aware of this. He is aware of this at the time he spoke to Abel.
ii) So let’s ask why: Why did God give this speech? Why wasn’t God tougher on Abel here in this verse? If God could speak to Cain here and tell him to behave himself, why couldn’t God intervene later and prevent Abel’s murder?
iii) To answer those questions, you have to understand two key concepts:
a) 1) God allows free will and 2) Sin exists in the world.
b) Suppose that every time somebody was about to commit a murder, an angel steps in and grabs the gun (or whatever). Suppose every time we are about to lie to someone, an angel comes and covers our mouth.
c) If that were true, we would be complaining “God does not love us because he never gives us a chance to prove ourselves”. Further, we could never come to God by faith, because the evidence for God is so over-whelming that people would only obey God out of fear of retribution.
d) Therefore, the purpose of the speech is to teach Cain and us, the most important aspect about sin is either “you learn to master it, or it will master you.” Sin exists in you and around you, & “you can’t get out of the game”.
b) Remember at this point, all Cain was guilty of was bringing a “bad offering to church” and being jealous of his brother Abel as God accepted Abel’s offering and not Cain’s.
i) God did not hate Cain. If anything, God shows his love for Cain and is in a sense pleading with Cain to “repent” and change his ways before it is too late.
10. Verse 8: Now Cain said to his brother Abel, "Let's go out to the field." And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.
a) Some of the saddest tragedies in life come when we don’t listen to God. We know what is right from reading the bible and/or we know what is instinctively the right thing to do.
b) Guilt is a powerful force. Cain is the first of many murders in the world for the purpose of alleviating the guilt that is inside of them.
i) In modern American history, there is a hatred of “fundamental Christianity” by those who are not very religious.
ii) The argument goes, “well, who are they to say what is right and wrong? Who are they to say that the bible is right and our lifestyle is wrong? What makes them better than us? Don’t tell me my lifestyle is wrong. Who are you to judge anyway?” Thus, the hatred of those who try to live in obedience to God’s word.
a) I’m convinced the hatred stems from guilt. Deep down, God created all of us with a need to worship God. If you suppress that need, guilt comes in. Guilt manifests itself in sin. The non-believer can kill to alleviate seeing others live more righteously than themselves.
iii) If you think I’m “way off base” here, listen to what John says in 1st John 3:12 (NIV):
a) “Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother’s were righteous.”
11. Verse 9: Then the LORD said to Cain, "Where is your brother Abel?" "I don't know," he replied. "Am I my brother's keeper?"
a) Here is one of the most famous lines of the bible: “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
b) You can almost feel the sarcasm dripping from Abel’s mouth as he spoke this.
c) One can get to a point in sin where it does not even bother you to talk back to God.
d) I suspect there is a deep guilt in Cain’s conscious over what he did.
i) Since he doesn’t want to admit wrong, that guilt comes out as anger or sarcasm.
12. Verse 10: The LORD said, "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cries out to me from the ground. 11 Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground, which opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. 12 When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be a restless wanderer on the earth."
a) Here is the first murder in the bible.
i) Some argue, that in a sense Adam and Eve was the first murder in that they committed “suicide” in their relationship to God, but that’s besides the point.
ii) Jesus said that Satan was a “murderer from the beginning” (John 8:44) and many believe Jesus was talking about this passage right here.
iii) In that sense, one can understand that there are demonic forces behind this murder, even though there is no direct reference to Satan in this passage.
iv) Remember that Satan was part of the “Chapter 3 curse”. Satan knew that some descendant of Adam would “bruise his head”.
a) Here was Abel, who was the “good son” and made the proper offering.
b) I suspect, but can’t prove, that Satan was thinking, “this may be the guy”, therefore, Satan went used the ungodly Cain to do his dirty work.
b) As for Abel, he is in heaven.
i) Notice that God hears the cries of the murderer. God said, “your brother’s blood cries out to me” in Verse 10.” Human blood does not have vocal chords. God is referring to the fact that Abel’s soul lives and that God demands justice for all sins.
ii) Notice God did not say, “Oh, Cain, I forgive you. After all you were born this way and you couldn’t help yourself. I know that you came from an abusive family and have psychological problems to deal with.” J
iii) In fact, it was just the opposite. Cain was an adult, and God held him accountable.
c) Remember that Cain’s occupation was as a farmer.
i) He offered “of the ground” when he sacrificed to God.
ii) It is almost as if God is saying, “I’m not going to kill you. In a sense, your punishment is going to be worse, in that I’m not going to allow you to farm anymore and enjoy the results of your work. From now on, you’ll be a “street-person” and carry a cardboard sign that says, “Please help, God bless”. J
d) Which leads to the next question: Why didn’t God just kill Cain?
i) Later, God tells Moses right after the 10 commandments that capital punishment is the correct decree if someone is found guilty of murder. (See Exodus 21:23)
ii) So why not instill capital punishment at the first recorded murder here?
iii) The answer, in a sense, is the rest of the chapter.
a) The rest of the chapter focuses on the descendants of Cain.
b) We don’t read of any of Cain’s descendants being “godly people”.
c) Further, all of Cain’s descendants are going to die in the flood.
d) I believe the reason God made an exception here is to show the long-term consequences of allowing murder to continue.
e) The main point of all the descendants of Cain (in the rest of the chapter) is to show the lack of any relationship with God.
13. Verse 13: Cain said to the LORD, "My punishment is more than I can bear. 14 Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me."
a) Notice what Cain did not say: “I’m sorry”, or “Lord, forgive me”.
b) Instead he focuses on the pain of his punishment, not the pain of his sin.
c) Cain said, “I will be hidden from your presence”.
i) God never said that. God is always wherever you are.
ii) David said, “If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.” (Psalm 139:8 NKJV)
iii) One only chooses to run away from God’s presence and ignore him.
d) In the last part of Verse 14, Cain was worried about someone taking revenge upon him.
i) Again, notice the lack of repentance. He is only worried about his own life.
ii) Cain is typical of those who lack repentance when they are caught in their sin.
the LORD said to him, "Not so; if anyone kills Cain, he will suffer
vengeance seven times over." Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no
one who found him would kill him.
16 So Cain went out from the LORD's presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden.
a) The word “Nod” means, “wandering”. This is a “pun” or an allegory. Cain is leaving the presence of God, and is now “wandering” in the world.
i) Even out in the world, God is still with Him and preserving him.
b) God placed some sort of “mark” on Cain. What that “mark” is, is not stated.
i) It was placed on Cain for his protection, so no one would seek revenge on Cain.
ii) It shows God’s love for the murder. It doesn’t excuse the crime.
15. Verse 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.
a) Now, all of a sudden, Cain has got a wife:
i) Was he married prior to the murder, or did she agree to marry a murderer? J
ii) If Cain is a man who didn’t make God a priority in his life, how did that affect his wife and her behavior?
iii) Remember I stated a page or two back that Adam and Eve had lots of sons and daughters (Genesis 5:5). Cain married a sister or some other close relative. The gene pool was not corrupt at this point in history. It was about 2,000 years later when the laws came in against marrying one’s sister.
b) The next thing we read of is Enoch building a city and naming it after his son.
i) God’s curse on Cain was he’ll be a “You will be a restless wanderer on the earth.”
a) Is Cain building a city in defiance of that command?
b) Is Cain thinking, “Well, I can’t farm anymore. Maybe I can set up a shop in town for people to trade produce and sheep.” J
c) Maybe Cain was thinking, “Well, if I’m going to be vagabond, I need a place where people will gather and give me handouts.”
ii) Let’s go to the next couple of verses and I’ll tie them together.
16. Verse 19: Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. 20 Adah gave birth to Jabal; he was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock. 21 His brother's name was Jubal; he was the father of all who play the harp and flute. 22 Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. Tubal-Cain's sister was Naamah.
a) The whole emphasis is on Cain’s family.
i) Verses 17-22 list Cain’s descendants.
ii) Verses 19-22 mention some of their occupations.
iii) Some of the kid’s names have “Cain” as part of their name (e.g., “Tubal-Cain”).
iv) For example, Jabal “was the father of those who live in tents and raise livestock”
a) This does not mean those who are tentmakers today have genes from Jabal.
b) Remember that everyone in this genealogy dies in the flood.
c) Noah comes a brother of Cain (Seth); not anyone in this group.
d) Therefore, when you read of these occupations, don’t think that line goes on today. It just means for example, if Jabal “made tents”, so did his kids.
b) I want you to see what is missing from this whole section: Any mention of God.
i) Cain built a city and named it after his son. He had a love for his family.
ii) His kids lived in tents, were farmers, others were musicians, and others made tools out of bronze and iron. There is nothing wrong with any of these things.
iii) The problem is the lack of emphasis on a God-centered life.
a) If your life is centered around your occupation or your God-given talents or even your children, it will still be empty without God in the center.
b) That is the point of reading this section about Cain’s family.
iv) When you compare Chapters 4 and 5, you notice something else is missing:
a) There is no dates about how long anybody lived.
b) In Chapter 5, we get the descendants of Cain’s brother Seth.
c) In Chapter 5, it lists how long everybody lived.
d) So why is there is no mention of how long each of these people lived in Chapter 4? Because we have the “output” of the “ungodly” line of Cain. The reason I combined Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 in one lesson is to show God’s perspective about the descendants of Cain (Chapter 4) and his brother Seth (Chapter 5).
17. Verse 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."
a) In Verse 19, Lamech married two women. This is the first mention of polygamy.
b) Although it is not literally forbidden at this point in the bible, it is against the will of God in the sense that God told Adam & Eve to “be fruitful and multiply”. Thus Lamech is going against God’s ideal.
c) There are a number of stories of polygamy in the bible. The interesting thing is you never read of any of them being a positive experience. Having one wife is enough of a challenge for any man. J
d) Lamech is the great-great-great grandson of Cain.
e) Lamech knew about the curse of Cain. He is “bragging” how he killed a man in self defense and proclaimed that if Cain were to be avenged seven times if anyone hurt Cain, Lamech would be avenged seventy-seven times (or seventy times seven, alt. translation).
i) First of all, there is no proof God said this. It is Lamech’s own theory.
ii) Cain was probably still alive. Lamech may have heard the story about Cain’s mark from Cain himself.
f) The important thing to see here is the consequence of sin being passed on from generation to generation.
i) There is a relevant verse that is appropriate here:
ii) "The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation." (Exodus 34:6b-7, NIV)
a) This verse does not mean that God punishes children for the sins of their parents. (See Ezekiel 18:20).
iii) The point of the verse in Exodus is that children will offer suffer the consequences of the sins of their parents and grandparents.
a) A common example today is the children of those who have alcohol and drug problems. Although their children are innocent of those problems, they often suffer the consequences.
iv) That is what we have here with Cain’s descendants. They all have honorable professions and are very “pro-family”. The one thing missing in their life is God.
g) Enough of Cain. Let’s move on the good generation. J
18. Verse 25: Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, "God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him." 26 Seth also had a son, and he named him Enosh. At that time men began to call on the name of the LORD.
a) Remember that Adam and Eve had lots of sons and daughters.
b) The focus of the story is just on three specific sons: Cain, Abel and now Seth.
c) Remember in the early part of Chapter 4, Eve thought that Cain was “the guy” of which the promised “Redeemer” would come.
i) When Cain turned out to be a disappointment J, Eve said in a sense, “OK, the next one, this is it. I’m naming this one Seth, which means “appointed”. This is the guy who will redeem us of our sins.
ii) In a sense, Eve was right. It is through the descendants of Seth that Jesus eventually come. Verse 25 is the beginning of the description of the “godly line” of Seth leading up to Noah, at the end of Chapter 5.
d) Notice Verse 25 says, “At that time men began to call on the name of the LORD.”
i) What this means is uncertain: Did they organize the first synagogue? J
ii) More likely, it means that Adam, his son Seth and Seth’s son Enosh saw some of their cousins and said, “Oh no, we better start praying”.
iii) I see this sentence and I personally see Adam, Seth and Enosh looking to God and praying out for redemption. Not only for themselves, but for their brothers, sisters and cousins. They see the consequences of those who have turned their lives away from God and start praying on their behalf.
19. Chapter 6, Verse 1: This is the written account of Adam's line. When God created man, he made him in the likeness of God. 2 He created them male and female and blessed them. And when they were created, he called them "man. "
a) Chapter 6 begins the next genealogy in the Book of Genesis.
i) Some people suspect that this section may have been originally written by Noah as the genealogy of Chapter 6 runs from Adam to Noah.
b) The emphasis of Chapter 6 is on having a godly-relationship.
i) When you read the character traits of the descendants of Cain, you notice a lack of any God-mention in any of their traits and occupations.
ii) In Chapter 6, it is just the opposite. The only time you have descriptions of any of these characters other than their names themselves, it mentions something positive of their relationship to God.
c) This is why I believe Chapter 6 lists their dates and Chapter 5 does not.
i) In Chapter 6, each person has listed the length of their lives and the age of that person when the next person-in-line was born.
ii) It is as if God is saying “I’m so proud of these people. I love the fact they are seeking me out and I’m counting all the days of their lives”.
a) It makes you wonder if anyone from Cain’s descendants were saved because none of their days were “counted”.
iii) We’re going to discover the dates have other purposes.
a) For one thing, it helps us get a pretty good estimate of time between Adam and say, Abraham, who is the first “Jew”. Abraham, who we’ll read about beginning in Chapter 11, is considered the father of the Jewish nation.
d) Stop and think for a second that the period of time from Adam to Noah is about 2,000 years. Stop and think how much history we have had in the last 2,000 years.
i) It is interesting to consider how much space the bible has for the “first” 2,000 years of history as compared to the “next” 2,000 years, which is time frame from Abraham to Jesus. It is not so irrelevant to ignore the first 2,000 years completely, but compared to the rest of the bible, it does not get a lot of commentary.
ii) The “big purpose” of the time frame of Adam to Noah is to show man’s relationship to God on a “direct witness” basis.
a) There is no “chosen people” yet.
b) There is coming Messiah that people understood the details thereof.
iii) The purpose of this era is for God to show us, “Here is what life is like without a chosen nation to be my witness to the world”. Here is what life is like with people trying to be “good people” without seeking me directly”.
iv) By the time of Seth and his son, they were “seeking the Lord”, I believe, because they understood how ungodly people could be in a short time.
v) These few people saw the world’s corruption, and wanted redemption from it.
20. Chapter 6, Verse 3: When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth. 4 After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 5 Altogether, Adam lived 930 years, and then he died.
a) My emphasis on these studies is not “how”, but “why”.
i) With that said, I don’t want to spend a lot of time on how Adam could live 930 years along with some of the other long life spans mentioned in Chapter 6.
ii) I take the bible at face value, with the exception of some poetic passages that are meant to be word-pictures.
iii) I believe there was a water-canopy (or ice) over the earth (Genesis 1:20) and this prevented ultraviolet rays from seeping in, and thus, people didn’t age quickly.
b) I could spend a whole lesson on the topic of bible-numerology.
i) Just to get you a “flavor” of this study, there is a study of “numbers” used in the bible and they are often consistent from book to book.
ii) For example, the number “eight” is associated with “new beginning”.
a) God rested on the 7th day. Therefore, when you read of the number “8”, or the multiple thereof you read of “a new beginning”.
b) In Hebrew and in Greek, each letter also corresponds with a number.
c) Roughly, the letter “a” equals 1, “b” equals 2, “c” equals 3, etc.
d) You can add up letters of words and get all sorts of interesting things.
e) If you take most of the titles for Jesus used in the New Testament (in the original Greek), they are evenly divisible by eight. There is a “hidden word-picture” how Jesus represents our “new beginning of life”.
f) For more on this topic, get the book Numbers in Scripture by E.W. Bullinger (Kregel Publications, 1967 Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1983).
iii) Ok, John’s what is your point?
a) Adam’s “new life” through the promised line of Seth, began at his birth.
b) Adam lived another 800 years. His “new life” through the promise made to God, began at that point. Just as our “new life” began with the understanding of the promise God made to us through Jesus.
iv) The one thing to remember about studies like bible-numerology is that the main purpose is to validate the bible the Word of God.
a) If you just pick one example of bible numerology like this, you might say it’s a coincidence, or that I’m stretching the truth to make a point.
b) Once you go through the whole bible and learn some of this stuff, you realize just how consistent the Word of God is on all sorts of numbers.
c) The problem with studies like this is that the “only” thing it does is validate the bible as the Word of God. If that is an issue, study further. If you already believe the bible is the Word of God, it does not have a lot of personal application.
c) Getting back to the text, it is interesting to think about living for 930 years.
i) That’s a lot of time, folks. Adam lived to see his great-great-great grandchildren and then some. That’s a lot of birthdays to remember. J
ii) When you read through this genealogy, the longest life is 969 years.
iii) I may be “reaching” here, but one thing that interested me is that no one lived to be a 1,000 years. It made me think about the concept of the millennium as discussed in Revelation Chapter 20. I wondered if there was a connection.
a) In Revelation, there is this period of time where Jesus rules from the earth for a 1,000 years. During this time, Satan is “chained up”. I believe the main purpose of this time era is to show man’s corruption even without Satan’s influence.
iv) I can’t give a great reason why these people were allowed to live so long.
a) I can give you some scientific reasons like the water-canopy theory.
b) But I can’t give you any “Why did God allow this to happen” theories that are bluntly stated in the text.
c) The best answer I can see, in the context of the bible, is God wanted to show that “human time” is not going to solve the sin problem.
(1) The bible gives every possible excuse that we can give to God to “avoid the cross”, and the failure there-of.
(2) I suppose one excuse man can give to God is, “you know God, if you only allowed me to live long enough, I can mature past my sinful state and please you in a longer life span.
(3) Here was this world full of people living ten times longer than the normal lifespan (more or less). Yet, by Chapter 6, we read of how utterly corrupt the world had become.
(4) The moral lesson, from this perspective, is that time, in terms of human maturity is not the answer. We don’t become “more spiritual” on our own, without God’s help with more time. As I stated earlier, sin does not die of old age, not at 90 and not at 900.
21. Verse 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.
a) From Adam, among all of his children, we then focus on one specific son, Seth.
i) From Seth, among all his children, is listed one specific son, “Enosh”.
means “mortal, frail or miserable”. It
is from the root “an-ash”, to be incurable, used of a wound, grief, woe,
sickness or wickedness”.
(Source: Chuck Missler’s commentary on Genesis 5).
i) Ok, why did Seth name his boy “frail or miserable”?
ii) Did the kid have a real sickly childhood? J
iii) The big-picture of this genealogy is that this specific line of people were the “godly” people that God called out for salvation. We are leading up to Noah through whom mankind was preserved.
iv) If Enosh was “sickly” it may show God’s grace and how he was persevered.
a) Satan could have known this was “the next guy” and attacked him.
v) My personal view is that Seth named him prophetically (as a prediction).
a) He saw mankind’s condition, based on his cousins” and saw how wicked man is becoming. His sins are “incurably wicked”.
heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9, NKJV)
c) The idea here is that Adam and Seth somehow knew a redeemer is coming through one of their descendants, and they named Enosh prophetically to teach the world of their sins.
vi) Hey, can you imagine living for 905 years being named “sickly”. J
a) “Hey, I’ve lived 783 years (or whatever) already. Stop calling me sickly! J
22. Verse 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.
a) Now we move on from Enosh’s to his son Kenan.
b) Some bibles translate this “Cainin”, as if to name the kid after “Cain”.
c) The name means, “sorrow”.
d) Like his dad Enosh, he may have had a sickly childhood and his name has this pessimistic tone like his father’s name.
e) My personal theory is that like his father’s name, it has “hints” of the sorrow of the state of sin in the world. It is as if this specific line of people knew about Noah and judgment coming up and they named their kids accordingly.
23. Verse 12: When Kenan had lived 70 years, he became the father of Mahalalel. 13 And after he became the father of Mahalalel, Kenan lived 840 years and had other sons and daughters. 14 Altogether, Kenan lived 910 years, and then he died.
a) After, Kenan, the next key-son is Mahalalel. Trying saying that one 10 times fast. J
i) “Mahahalel, you get back here and clean up this mess right now. J
b) Mahalalel means “The Blessed God”
i) After the “sickly” names of dad and grandpa, we need a positive name! J
ii) All of these names are leading up to a prophetic word-picture that I’ll get to at the end of this section.
24. Verse 15: When Mahalalel had lived 65 years, he became the father of Jared. 16 And after he became the father of Jared, Mahalalel lived 830 years and had other sons and daughters. 17 Altogether, Mahalalel lived 895 years, and then he died.
a) Jared is a verb that means “shall come down” or “shall come forth”.
b) I noticed that with each generation, the number of years before the “next key guy” is born is shorter and shorter. From Adam to Seth is 130 years; From Seth to Enosh is 105 years; From Enosh to Kenan is 90 years; From Kenan to Mahalalel is 70 years; and from Mahalalel to Jared is 65 years.
i) I’m not sure why. Is God, in preparation of Noah have each next-key guy has to come sooner due to corruption? I don’t have an answer, I just notice the pattern.
a) If the put the father-son names together, you have, “The Blessed God (“Mahalalel”) shall come down (“Jared”).
b) That combination together, combined with the “shortened years” may speak, prophetically of the God’s impending judgment on mankind.
ii) From here, the time-span goes up again, but beginning with the next generation we’re dealing with some key people who are mentioned in the New Testament.
25. Verse 18: When Jared had lived 162 years, he became the father of Enoch. 19 And after he became the father of Enoch, Jared lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. 20 Altogether, Jared lived 962 years, and then he died.
a) The name “Enoch” means “teaching” or “commencement”.
b) In the one-chapter book of Jude in the New Testament, he discussed Enoch:
the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men: “See, the Lord is coming
with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones to judge everyone, and to
convict all the ungodly of all the ungodly acts they have done in the ungodly
way, and of all the harsh words ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
(Jude 1:14-15, NIV).
ii) My first question is how did Enoch know this stuff? I’ll have to ask him. J
iii) Let’s read a few more verses about Enoch and tie this together.
iv) Remember Enoch’s name means “teaching”. It is as if his father named him “preacher” knowing what his role and destiny would be.
26. Verse 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.
a) Enoch “only” lived a total of 365 years. Then God “took him away”.
i) To use a modern Christian term, the guy was raptured.
b) The only clue we have as to why God did this was that he “walked with God”.
i) What that exactly means is unsure. I suspect it mean that Enoch was a man of prayer, who spent lots of time of God.
ii) Notice it does not mean that he spent 100% of his time with God. The text says he had other sons and daughters in Verse 21. That means he still had time for family.
c) Personally, I think one of the reasons God “took him home early” was a sign to other people living in this time era.
i) God, in his love for people, wanted them to repent prior to the flood. The flood-judgment is coming and that was inevitable. What God wanted were people to turn from their wickedness prior to the great judgment.
a) One can see how that is not much different than our life today.
ii) In order to “validate” Enoch as a preacher of righteousness, I think he raptured him as a witness to other people.
25: When Methuselah had lived 187
years, he became the father of Lamech. 26 And after he became the father of Lamech,
Methuselah lived 782 years and had other sons and daughters.
27 Altogether, Methuselah lived 969 years, and then he died.
a) Enoch’s “main” son is Methuselah
b) The name “Methuselah” means “His death will bring” (or a variance there-of).
c) If you run the numbers from Methuselah to the flood, you will discover the exact year that Methuselah died, the flood came. My personal theory is he died the day it started raining, but I can’t prove that.
d) Now think about his name, “his death will bring”. I suspect his father, preacher-Enoch, knew about the flood and named his son prophetically for that reason.
suspect every time Methuselah caught a cold, everybody panicked”.
e) The other wonderful word-picture to notice is of all the people in Genesis 6, Methuselah has the longest life span.
i) It is as if God is saying, “I love people so much, I want to give them time to repent. Therefore, the longest recorded life will be the guy who signals the judgment.
28. Verse 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." 30 After Noah was born, Lamech lived 595 years and had other sons and daughters. 31 Altogether, Lamech lived 777 years, and then he died.
a) Methuselah named the key-son Lamech, which means, “the despairing”.
b) I suspect Methuselah knew the judgment was coming and named Lamech appropriately.
c) If you add up the years, Lamech died 5 years prior to the flood. It is as if God spared him the pain of the judgment. Therefore, Methuselah outlived his son by five years.
29. Verse 32: After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth.
a) We’ll spend a lot of time in the next two lessons on Noah and the boys in the next lesson.
i) I notice with Noah there is no mention of “other sons and daughters”. Maybe he did, it is just not mentioned. It makes you wonder what he did for 500 years prior to the birth of the three boys! J
b) His name means, “comfort”. It is almost as if the father or grandfather who named him knew that “this was the guy” who preserves our family through this judgment.
30. Here comes the fun part. If you take all the names in Chapter 6, it spells out a sentence.
a) I’ll lay it out in a table on the top of the next page.
b) On the left column is everyone’s name in this Chapter (except Noah’s 3 sons)
c) On the right column is the meaning of their name.
The Blessed God
Shall Come Down
His Death Shall Bring
Rest or comfort.
d) Now let’s put it together as a sentence:
e) Man (is) appointed mortal sorrow; (but) the Blessed God shall come down teaching (that) His death shall bring (the) despairing rest.
f) There is the Gospel message in one sentence. Man is in his incurable sinful state. God himself (Jesus) comes down to teach how his death brings comfort to the despairing.
g) (Source for the table and names: Chuck Missler; See http://www.khouse.org/articles/technical/19960201-44.html
31. I’m running long as usual, but I did manage to get two chapters in today. J
32. The big-picture of these two chapters is to compare the “ungodly” side of Cain with the promised of the redeemer of mankind in the genealogy of Seth.
a) The Cain descendant’s side lists their occupations and interests. No mention of God.
b) The Seth descendants have God-centered lives. Their names are even prophetic of the flood-judgment and the Gospel message.
c) The application for you & me is to keep our lives focus on the “Seth-side of life” as opposed to our occupation or interest. Again, there is nothing wrong with an occupation; it is a matter of where is our focus and our priorities.
33. Let’s pray. Heavenly Father, thank you for these wonderful word-pictures about living an ungodly verses a godly lifestyle. Help us to remember that even if we lived ten times longer than we think, it is still nothing compared to the eternity we are going to spend with you. Help us to live our lives for your glory in all we do. For we ask this in Jesus name, Amen.