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God’s Word for You

1 Chronicles 1:3 They knew Adam

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, August 30, 2023

3 Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech,

Some translations have Noah’s name at the end of this verse, but in Hebrew and both the Greek and Latin translations, Noah’s name is the beginning of verse 4. I have kept the Hebrew verse division in my translation here.

Born 622 years after the creation, Enoch was the shortest-lived of all the pre-flood or antediluvian patriarchs. Enoch was a preacher. If we turn to the other end of the Bible, Jesus’ brother Jude records the contents of one of Enoch’s sermons:

It was also about these that the seventh down from Adam prophesied. Enoch said, ‘Look, the Lord is going to come with his tens of thousands of holy ones to carry out judgment against all of them and to convict every soul of the ungodly deeds they did in ungodly ways, and about all the terrible words that ungodly sinners spoke against him.’ (Jude 1:14-15).

Was Enoch prophesying about the judgment of the Last Day, or about the Flood, which was till seven hundred years away? The judgment on the last day will be carried out by God “with his tens of thousands of holy angels.” The flood, however, was a natural event multiplied in its magnitude by God’s holy wrath. So we would judge Enoch’s words to be especially about the final (second) coming of Christ on the last day.

Not quite a thousand years (987) after the Lord finished the creation and rested for a day, and just 57 years after the death of Adam, Enoch was suddenly no more to be found. Before we think of what happened to Enoch, think about what it meant for the world that Adam himself had died! Adam had fallen into sin and had passed along his story to each of the seven generations that came after his. The scene in my mind goes something like this…

Mother did not hurry to bake the bread. She kneaded it extra times with extra care. “Is someone special coming tonight, mother?” asked her daughter, teasing her as she strode up the path through the grove of almond and olive trees.

“You know perfectly well that Grandfather Adam is here to see the new babies,” said mother with a smile. “He loves to hear what we have named them.”

“Is Grandmother Eve here, too?” asked brother. “No,” said mother. “She’s helping with a delivery over on the big river—another baby!”

The loaves of bread were stacked into the hot oven to the sunrise side of the door, and they all went into the tall-roofed hut and sat with a hush as the ancient man dandled the newest baby on his knee. His voice, always so clear, like a ringing stone on bedrock, filled the room. “What is his name?” Adam asked.

“Shemesh,” the mother said. “Ah,” smiled Adam, “the name of the sun.”

“Yes,” said the father. “He smiles when he feels or sees the sun on his face.”

Adam grew quiet and looked around at them all. “Remember this, my children,” he said. “Your old Grandmother Eve and I were made by the hand of God and set into the Garden up yonder.” He gestured out the door where we could see the river flowing down from the high hills beyond. “He gave us to each other. He gave us everything to be used by us to his glory. But he gave us one command: ‘Do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.’”

Young brother asked, “What did that tree look like?”

Adam’s smile crinkled his face a little. He was beginning to show lines in his face like an aging lion or horse, but he did not look old to them. Only some grey in his hair showed that he had lived for hundreds of years. “It did not look much different from other trees. Just one among many. But when God commanded us, we remembered it, and we knew it, and we talked about it when we would walk past. But one day the serpent came and spoke while we were near the tree.”

“A serpent spoke, with a voice?” asked young brother.

“Yes. It was the Enemy, the devil, speaking. He made Grandmother Eve tempted to touch it, to pick it, to taste it, and when she did, I failed and did not stop her. I ate it, too, and we had sinned. It was the first sin. God drove us from the Garden, but he promised a Savior who would crush the head and power of the devil. But death came into the world because of my sin.”

He went on with stories about the family all the while that the sun sank to its setting place. We were happy he had come. He strode off fearlessly into the evening, just the way he had come. “Grandmother Eve will be waiting, and I mustn’t make her wait long. I hope I get there quickly—her hair is so pretty in the light of the setting sun,” he said to himself as he loped along the neat little path.

Now, in Enoch’s lifetime, Adam had died at long last, gathered to the Lord with his faith firmly founded on God’s promises. But the world was afraid. Will we die, and nothing more than that? Is there nothing after death but punishment?

The Lord God answered the doubts and the fears of mankind by taking Enoch away in his physical, living body. Adam and Eve had died and were buried. The wages of sin is death. But Enoch, who walked with God, and ‘was no more’—and with his departure, God illustrated that there is a life we go to beyond this world. Down the years, in Luther’s time, some Medieval monks had the wrong idea about him altogether. They imagined that “he walked with God” (Genesis 5:22) meant that he lived like a monk in a secluded life and therefore had no wife. But Enoch’s son was Methuselah, a son of his marriage and not of adoption, and there is no reason to suppose that any of the ancient patriarchs did not take seriously God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28). Enoch, we are told, “was taken up, so that he would not experience death” (Hebrews 11:5) in a way similar to that of Elijah. But we are never told that there were fiery chariots or angelic horses to lift Enoch away. Perhaps he was simply lifted physically into heaven by angels in the same way that our own souls will be carried to heaven by angels, and Jesus teaches (Luke 16:22). Like Elijah, God took him bodily into heaven without an intervening death. Like Elijah, Enoch’s sins were purged away by the blood of Christ as God set aside the curse of death for these men who put their trust in the coming Messiah. It was that Messiah whose life fulfilled God’s requirement of perfection, and it was that Messiah whose death satisfied God’s condemnation of our sins. It was that Messiah whose name was and is Jesus Christ.

Methuselah’s son Lamech died a few years before his father, about five years before the Flood. Methuselah, whose name is now synonymous with a very long-lived individual, remained on earth an incredible 969 years. He lived and walked with the still-living Adam for 243 of those years, and when he finally closed his eyes in sleep, called home by his Lord, it was (by my math) the 1,656th year of the world—the very year in which his grandson Noah entered the ark and alone with seven others survived the wrath of God.

I have a mental picture of a 500-year old Noah with his nearly hundred-year-old sons finishing the burial of Methuselah by patting the earth on the grave (pat, pat, pat) as the first drops of rain began to fall (pat, pat, patter). The four men let their shovels drop as they turned back to the huge door of the 450-foot-long ship and their four wives and all of the animals God has gathered. Perhaps a couple of those shovels fell on top of each another, making a crude cross in the dust as the rain fell. It was on the lumber of the ark that God rescued the remnant of mankind then—the few who put their trust in him. It was on the lumber of the cross that God rescued us: all who put our trust in him. We will rise with joy, with the Son of God shining in our faces, and we will be carried away home to heaven to rest there forever with Grandfather Adam and Grandmother Eve, Methuselah (looking young once again), Enoch and Elijah, and each other. Forever.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith
About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please visit the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church website.


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