The Gospel in the Genealogy of Genesis
I have a confession to make. I used to skip over the genealogies in the Old Testament on a very regular basis. I mean, why would I need to know who begat whom anyway? Then, not long ago I happened upon something very interesting. It was so interesting, in fact, that I no longer skip anything in Scripture but instead try to find the significance in what God is revealing to us through His Word. Here's what changed my perspective.
“This is the book (the written record, the history) of the generations of the offspring of Adam. When God created man, He made him in the likeness of God. He created them male and female and blessed them and named them [both] Adam [Man] at the time they were created. When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, after his image; and he named him Seth. After he had Seth, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters. So altogether Adam lived 930 years, and he died. When Seth was 105 years old, Enosh was born. Seth lived after the birth of Enosh 807 years and had other sons and daughters. So Seth lived 912 years, and he died. When Enosh was 90 years old, Kenan was born to him. Enosh lived after the birth of Kenan 815 years and had other sons and daughters. So Enosh lived 905 years, and he died. When Kenan was 70 years old, Mahalalel was born. Kenan lived after the birth of Mahalalel 840 years and had other sons and daughters. So Kenan lived 910 years, and he died. When Mahalalel was 65 years old, Jared was born. Mahalalel lived after the birth of Jared 830 years and had other sons and daughters. So Mahalalel lived 895 years, and he died. When Jared was 162 years old, Enoch was born. Jared lived after the birth of Enoch 800 years and had other sons and daughters. So Jared lived 962 years, and he died. When Enoch was 65 years old, Methuselah was born. Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God after the birth of Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were 365 years. And Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God; and he was not, for God took him [home with Him]. When Methuselah was 187 years old, Lamech was born to him. Methuselah lived after the birth of Lamech 782 years and had other sons and daughters. So Methuselah lived 969 years, and he died. When Lamech was 182 years old, a son was born. He named him Noah, saying, This one shall bring us relief and comfort from our work and the [grievous] toil of our hands due to the ground being cursed by the Lord. Lamech lived after the birth of Noah 595 years and had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Lamech were 777 years, and he died. After Noah was 500 years old, he became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.” - Genesis 5, Amplified
Pssst! You can wake up now. At first glance this might look like a long list of rather hard to pronounce names of people who lived for a very long time, a very long time ago. But if you understand that Hebrew names have very specific meanings, and that the naming of a child was of the utmost importance as it would shape that person's entire life, you begin to see some very interesting things here.
We'll start with Adam and go down through Noah. And I'll list them to make it a little easier on the eyes.
Adam - Man
Seth - Appointed
Enosh - Mortal, frail, miserable
Kenan - Sorrow, dirge or elegy
Mahalalel - The Blessed God
Jared - Shall come down
Enoch - Commencement or teaching
Methuselah - His death shall bring (and in fact in the year that he died, the flood
came, fulfilling the prophecy of his name)
Lamech - Despairing
Noah - Bring relief or comfort
That's very nice. But what is the significance? I'm glad you asked! In teaching future generations their lineage and heritage, these fathers were also speaking to them God's plan of salvation. Let's take a look at the meanings of these names again, with three small words added to aid the English translation.
Man (is) Appointed Mortal Sorrow; (but) The Blessed God Shall come down Teaching His death shall bring (the) Despairing Comfort, Rest.
Are you as amazed as I was the first time I saw this? I had always heard that every page of the Bible speaks of and is a witness to the Messiah, and now I see that is indeed true. Here we see the next length of the scarlet thread. Where will it lead us next? Be sure to visit next month to find out!