Genesis 5 is a chapter that many skip right over maybe even asking themselves “What is this about”. Some people love genealogies and they will tell stories they have found about great great grand relatives that lived in a certain place or migrated from some other country. They tell stories about family that fought in wars or worked in some trade. Genesis chapter 5 is the patriarchal family tree from Adam, the first man, to Noah the most direct relative of everyone living today. This genealogy tells more stories than one might think at first glance. This Chapter also tells a major story that is relevant to everyone living today.
These People were Old
However before jumping into the big story from Genesis 5 we need to explore a few fun facts and details. The first thing to tackle right away about this genealogy is the age of each person. 900 years is the range for most of these men. It seems impossible that anyone could have lived that long. Theologians and amateur detectives have spent time trying to determine what the ages really mean.
What do these ages mean then? It is logical to take the ages at face value. The intent of the original author, likely Noah, of this chapter in Genesis is that these were the actual ages. Any attempt to adjust the ages to fit what is “normal” will ultimately not be satisfying or accurate. I would encourage everyone to take the original author at his word that these were indeed how old they lived. The the author was witness to the fact and the fact that this is what God wanted recorded.
This graphic tells some interesting stories about these pre flood patriarchs…
More Fun to Think on
These are the men and women who knew where the Garden of Eden was located (Genesis 3:24). They could come before God and meet with Him for conversation in what might have been a uniquely direct way (Genesis 4:4 and 5:22). These are men and women who were almost perfect in every way able to live hundreds of years longer than we who continue on in this post flood fallen world. These men and women lived in a pre-flood world that looks very little like the world we see today.
11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened. Genesis 7:11 ESV
Judgement of the earth by water occurred when Noah was 600 years old. That information combined with the genealogy in chapter 5 tells us that from Adam’s creation to the year of the flood was 1,656 years. Another layer is that in the same year of Methuselah’s death the judgment of God by water came true. Methuselah’s name depending on the root translation could mean “When He Is Dead It Shall Be Sent”. This is too much of a coincidence to not be interesting. Add to this the idea that his father, Enoch, a known prophet may have had a hand in giving him this unusual name. A name given almost a thousand years before the judgment of the earth by water.
Enoch the Most Interesting Patriarch
While all of those are interesting stories about our history the real story is about God’s promise to return, judge, and fix what man had broken. That story is told through Enoch who never died and left a legacy that reaches out to us even thousands of years after his time on earth. Enoch was still a young man by pre flood standards when he was abducted by God and Enoch had a reputation even before this shocking intervention by God.
First Enoch spent time with God and is known as a faithful man.
Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. Genesis 5:24 ESV
Second Enoch, a prophet, speaks about repentance and judgment for anyone that chased ungodly selfishness.
14 It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, 15 to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” Jude 1:14 ESV
God’s Promise to Return
Those who lived at that time would have heard Enoch’s words from God. They would have heard from Enoch that the “Lord” of all men would be coming with thousands of holy people. They would have known that the “ungodly” way they were living was not God’s plan. While Enoch and those who heard his message would not have had the revelation of Jesus they knew the prophesy given to Eve about her offspring (Genesis 3:15). The promise of eternal life and a presence with God after death had not been articulated, but they knew people could be taken away to be with God as evidenced by Enoch’s life. They knew that God’s anointed one would be coming and he would be bringing judgment with him.
Even in the very beginning in the days of Adam God’s future plan for Jesus, salvation, and his return were already being shown to mankind. This genealogy like any family tree contains stories that are relevant to life today. The question is will you be standing today in this moment of grace waiting just like the patriarchs for Jesus and his return or will you be like all those that were destroyed in Noah’s day?
12 “Look, I am coming soon, bringing my reward with me to repay all people according to their deeds. 13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” 14 Blessed are those who wash their robes. They will be permitted to enter through the gates of the city and eat the fruit from the tree of life. 15 Outside the city are the dogs—the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idol worshipers, and all who love to live a lie. Revelations 22:12-15 NLT
Please like and comment below. I love to hear feedback! If you like the Genealogy topic read Genesis 10: Table of Nations.
*Edited and Revised. Originally Published February 2016