Genesis 023 – Cheating DeathGenesis 5:6-27 • Dr. Andy Woods • January 24, 2021 • Genesis
Genesis #023 — Cheating Death
Dr. Andy Woods
Morning, everybody. Let’s take our Bibles, if we could, and open them to the book of Genesis 5:3. You say, ‘Wait a minute now, the church has been closed for three weeks, and we were on Genesis 5:3 the last time we were here.’ Well, this is one of those churches where you could miss multiple Sundays, and we haven’t moved an inch, so. Praise the Lord. Amen.
Genesis 5:3, the title of our message this morning is ‘Cheating Death.‘ And we’re continuing our movement ever so slowly through the book of Genesis. Genesis 1-11 is essentially about the beginning of the human race. It started with Creation, Genesis 1-2, where we learned of God’s perfect order. And then we moved into Genesis 5:3-5, where everything went wrong— the Fall of Man. The world that we’re living in today is a far cry from God’s original design. In Genesis 3, we have that depressing story of how the creation rebelled against the Creator causing the circumstances of our world. But there’s a wonderful verse in it. In fact, it may be the most important verse in the Bible because the rest of the Bible explains this verse. Genesis 3:15 says, ‘And I will put enmity between you and the woman [as God is speaking to the serpent] And between your seed and her seed, He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise Him on the heel.”
And this is where Satan is put on notice that there’s coming One from the seed of the woman, Eve, who will crush his head. It’s the first presentation, really, of the gospel in the entire Bible. And if you understand Genesis 3, then you understand Genesis 4 because in Genesis 4, Satan works in history to prevent this Messiah from being born. That’s why, as we have explained, Cain murders his brother, Abel. Satan, at that point, thought he had stopped the fulfillment or potential fulfillment of Genesis 3:15, and that’s what’s happening in Genesis 4:1-15.
Satan built his world without Jesus; without the Messiah through an ungodly line emanating or coming from the murderer, Cain—the Canite line, and Satan has cut off the Messiah. He has built his New World Order. And things look very bleak until you get to Genesis 4:25-26 where you learn God has another plan. Aren’t you glad about that, by the way? Because there’s born a son named Seth (we’ll refer to him a little bit later). His name basically means substitute, or replacement. And God continues the line through Seth, leading to Jesus Christ, independent of that Canite line. And to Seth was born Enosh. And to Enosh—Kenan, etc., all the way right down (now we’re in Genesis 5) to a man named Noah.
And through Noah is going to come a special son named Shem. God is going to continue (Genesis 11) – this line leading to Jesus through Shem. Shem then will begat, ultimately in a long line, (Genesis 11), a man named Terah, the father of Abraham. Abraham is set aside (Genesis 12) because from Abraham’s special race, the nation of Israel, a special nation, Jesus is going to be born into our world.
As we move into Genesis 5, that’s what we’re looking at. We’re not looking at the Canite line anymore. We’re looking at the Sethite line, the one from whom the Messiah is ultimately going to come. Here is an outline of Genesis 5 (see slide: Genesis 5 Outline). Look at all of those, who we call the antediluvian patriarchs; and antediluvian meansaqaa pre-Flood. This is the pre-Flood line leading to Noah, who is ultimately going to lead to Jesus Christ. We’ve seen that line introduced in 5:1-2, and we saw that this line kicked off with Adam. So let’s just go ahead and read very fast 5:3-5, which we’ve already covered. It says, “And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. 4 After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years; and he had sons and daughters. 5 So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died. (NKJV)
Now, here we begin a six-fold pattern that’s repeated ten times. In fact, this repetition is like watching the paint dry; that’s how boring it can be. Yet there’s a reason for the boredom as we’ll explain. But for each of these ten pre-Flood patriarchs, you have six things given about them.
–Number one, the name of the patriarch, in this case, Adam, which means man.
–Number two, how old he was at the birth of his firstborn, Seth—he was one hundred and thirty years old.
–Number three, after that, he lived an additional eight hundred years.
–Number four, during that time period, he begat other sons and daughters. Adam, by the way, is where Cain got his wife, etc..
–Number five, he lived a total of nine hundred and thirty years. Just add up numbers two and three there, and you get the number nine hundred and thirty.
–Number six, did Adam die? Yes, he died.
Why does it keep repeating this over and over and over again for ten times? The last two lessons that I had with you, I was explaining the significance of this pattern.
–Number one, each of these names indicates that they were historical people. They were just as real as George Washington or Thomas Jefferson or any other person of history.
–Number two, there’s very specific information given about the age of the patriarch at the time his seed son was born, meaning that despite the attempts of many people, there are no gaps in these particular genealogies.
–Number three, the begetting of other sons and daughters explains the population explosion prior to the Flood. Henry Morris tells us in his commentary that there could be upwards of seven billion people on planet Earth at this time. It puts to rest all of these quibbles about where Cain got his wife, etc..
–Number four, as you’ll notice, the people in this time period were living a long time. Seven hundred, eight hundred, nine hundred years, and we explained why that was happening. The pre-Flood world was very different from our world.
–Number five, it keeps saying, ‘and he died and he died and he died.’ Why does it keep saying that? It’s revealing the fact that God was right. Isn’t God a good One to bet on at the end of the day? He said, “The day you eat from the Tree of Knowledge is the day you shall die.” And death came to all in this line except one who we’ll talk about.
Also, why the monotony? The monotony is there as given by the Holy Spirit as you read through it—not just to commit it to memory which the ancients did—they committed vast volumes of material to memory, but as you’re reading through these monotonous names, you should start to see a pattern; then all of a sudden you’ll get to the last three names, Enoch, Methuselah and Lamech, and something will happen outside the pattern. There is an incentive to notice it because you [should] know the pattern well enough to know when there’s a deviation, and you say to yourself, ‘The Holy Spirit wants me to learn something about those last three names.’
So from Adam, we move into Seth, and notice, if you will, Genesis 5:6-8, “Seth lived one hundred and five years, and became the father of Enosh. Then Seth lived eight hundred and seven years, after he became the father of Enosh, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years, and he died.” Here’s our same pattern. We have this name, Seth. His name in Hebrew actually means substitute. Renald Showers says, “… Since this name means substitute, it is apparent that God meant Seth to be a substitute for Abel.” [who, of course, was killed by Cain in Genesis 4.
You see, it looks like the devil has won by the time you get to Genesis 4:24–except for those two words: “But God.” God always gets around Satan’s attack by setting aside a remnant. And he does that now through the birth of Seth as a substitute replacement for Abel. And Seth had a son named Enosh, and he had that son at the ripe old age of one hundred and five. Seth lived an additional eight hundred and seven years. During those eight hundred and seven years, Seth, like his father, Adam, begat other sons and daughters, bringing the total years of his life up to nine hundred and twelve years. Did Seth die? Yes, he died. God was right. Death came to the human race.
Now look at this. We’re moving, praise the Lord. We’re already in Genesis 5:9. Wow. Someone should get this on videotape. We do have it on videotape, actually, 5:9-11. What does it say here, “Enosh lived ninety years, and became the father of Kenan. Then Enosh lived eight hundred and fifteen years after he became the father of Kenan, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years, and he died.”
So we moved from Seth to Enosh whose name in Hebrew means frail or frailty, probably speaking of the fragility or the frailty of the human race. Although these people looked insurmountable to us because of the long lifespans that they enjoyed, they all died. And you may feel young and tough and energetic and successful, but the fact of the matter is, if the Lord tarries, you’re going to die, and I’m going to die. This is why Psalm 90 tells us to have a heart of wisdom as we consider the brevity of our lives. We’re like mist, as the book of James says, ‘It appears for a little while and then it’s gone.’ And how important it is to take the waning moments that we have here on this frail earth and invest them into things that are going to last. Everybody wants a safe investment today. And the Bible says there are only two: gold and pork bellies. No. People and His Word. People will live forever. That’s how they’re created in the afterlife. And His Word, ‘The grass withers, the flower fades. The Word of our Lord abides forever.’ Every time you make an investment, and that’s, by the way, what you’re doing here this morning; there are a thousand other things you could be doing, but you have chosen to set aside this time to make an investment in God’s Word. That’s an eternal investment, and how wise we are when we make eternal investments because we’re living for things that will last given the frailty of [this] life.
Enosh is born, and he had a son named Kenan at the age of ninety. After the birth of Kenan, Enosh lived an additional eight hundred and fifteen years. He begat other sons and daughters. The total years of Enosh’s life were nine hundred and five years. And did Enosh die? Yes, he did.
And that takes us to the next patriarch, Kenan. Notice 5:12-14, “Kenan lived seventy years, and became the father of Mahalalel.” Say that five times fast. “Then Kenan lived eight hundred and forty years after he became the father of Mahalalel, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Kenan were nine hundred and ten years, and he died.”
So now we move to this man name, Kenan. Kenan’s name means smith, and it’s very similar to Cain’s name. Cain and his descendants were workers of metal, Genesis 4:17,20. That may be where Kenan’s name comes from. When he was seventy years old, he had a seed son, his firstborn, whose name was Mahalalel. Kenan, after the birth of Mahalalel, lived eight hundred and forty years, and during that eight hundred and forty year time period, he had sons and daughters, bringing the total age of his life to nine hundred and ten years. And did Kenan die? Yes, he died.
Which takes us now to Mahalalel. Notice, if you will, Genesis 5:15-17, “Mahalalel lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Jared. Then Mahalalel lived 830 years after he became the father of Jared, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred and ninety-five years, and he died.” Mahalalel was born. His name means ‘Praise God.’ And you’ll notice this in these godly lines, many of them are named after godly attributes and characteristics. When you study the book of Daniel, this explains Nebuchadnezzar’s desire to rename, in Daniel 1, the three Hebrew youths that were brought with Daniel into captivity. What were their names?— in Hebrew, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They all, when you study them in Hebrew, reflected parts of God’s character. And Nebuchadnezzar says, ‘You guys are not in charge here. I’m in charge. You’re in Babylon now.’ And he gave them the names Shadrach, Meshach and the Abed-Nego. Daniel’s name was changed to Belteshazzar. When you study those names in the Babylonian tongue, you learn that they represented different aspects of Babylonian polytheism, or the Pantheon. In the Bible, naming somebody is very significant. When Nebuchadnezzar renames the Hebrew youths in Daniel 1, he is asserting his authority over God. And what a foolish move that was for him. Because in the rest of the book of Daniel from Daniel 2 onward, God says, ‘You are not in charge, Nebuchadnezzar. I’m in charge here.’ The rest of the book of Daniel vindicates that.
But Mahalalel means ‘Praise God.’ When he was sixty-five years of age, he gave birth to his seed son, whose name was Jared. Mahalalel lives an additional eight hundred and thirty years, and during that time period, he had other sons and daughters, bringing the grand total of his life to eight hundred and ninety-five years. And he died. I’m seeing a pattern here.
And that moves us now into Jared. Notice Genesis 5:18-20. “Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and became the father of Enoch. Then Jared lived eight hundred years after he became the father of Enoch, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years, and he died.” Jared is born and his name means ‘descent’ probably because he’s in this descending lineage that we’re studying. And he had a seed son at the age of one hundred and sixty-two named Enoch.
And after the birth of Enoch, Jared lived an additional eight hundred years. And during that eight hundred year time period, he had other sons and daughters, bringing the grand total of Jared’s life to nine hundred and sixty-two years. And does Jared die? Yes. Jared dies. You say, ‘Pastor, this is like watching paint dry. This is the most boring sermon I’ve ever heard.’
Well, here’s where it starts getting interesting, because now we have three names, Enoch. Enoch is followed by Methuselah. Methuselah is followed by Lamech, the father of Noah, where three things happen that are outside the pattern that we’ve read. And the Holy Spirit in deviating from the pattern, is saying, “Watch this; pay attention to this, because I’ve got some spiritual lessons for you here.”
You go to 5:21-24, and now here is where we learn about the birth of Enoch. “Enoch lived sixty-five years, and became the father of Methuselah. Then Enoch walked with God three hundred years after he became the father of Methuselah, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years.” Look at 5:24: “Enoch walked with God and he was not, for God took him.”
So here we run into this individual named Enoch. Now it gets a little confusing because there’s an Enoch in the Canite line in Genesis 4, so we have two Enochs: the Canite Enoch and then the Sethite Enoch. Our Enoch, I think, is seventh from Adam. And Enoch in the other line, the wicked line, the Canite line, was born, or was Cain’s seed son.
So we have this name, Enoch. Enoch’s name is interesting. It means ‘consecration’ or dedication. I think it’s a foreshadowing of this man’s consecration and dedication to God in the midst of a totally perverse culture that we’ll be reading about when we get to Genesis 6. It’s also a reference to the fact that the Enoch in the Canite line had a city dedicated or consecrated to him, Genesis 4:17, and that may be also where Enoch got this name, dedication or consecration. Now, Enoch was sixty-five years old when he gave birth to his seed son, Methuselah. He, Enoch lived an additional three hundred years, and he had other sons and daughters during that time period, bringing the grand total of Enoch’s life up to three hundred and sixty-five years. Notice this: Enoch has the shortest lifespan of anybody on this list. In fact, his own father outlived him by 435 years. Why is that? Because something happened to Enoch. About everyone else, it says, “He died. He died. He died. He died.” You don’t read that here, do you in 5:24. The only thing 5:24 says is, “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” There was a man in this lineage that cheated death by the prerogative and providence of God.
We’re not really told why, exactly. There might be a hint here. It says, “[He] walked with God.” Godliness has its privileges, did you know that? The more godly a person becomes, the more spiritual privileges God accrues to their account, the more understanding and the more usability that they have. And Enoch was this type of person. He was not following the world’s pattern. He was following God’s pattern. That may be the reason why God allowed this man to cheat death. It just says in 5:24 that ‘he walked with God,’ which, by the way, is God’s goal for all of us. I mean, what does God want out of your life and my life? He wants us to just walk with Him. In fact, that’s why Adam and Eve were created. Genesis 3:8 says, “And they [Adam and Eve] heard the sound of the LORD walking in the garden in the cool of the day,…” Adam and Eve prior to the fall, walked with God. Enoch walked with God. What should be the sum total of your entire existence, your life? You walked with God. You were in fellowship with God. You were in communion with God. You were allowing God to speak to you primarily through His Word, and you were speaking to Him primarily through prayer. Enoch had this sort of relationship with the Lord—he enjoyed privileges that the others didn’t. And God just took him to heaven without him having to go through the natural process of death.
Let me tell you something else about Enoch. He was a preacher. I would love to have been there at that time to hear his sermons. I’m not sure they have a videotape of it, but if you find one, let me know. How do we know he was a preacher? Because the New Testament tells us that in Jude 14-15, “It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied,…” In other words, he predicted, he preached, he proclaimed. And what was Enoch talking about? It says in Jude 14-15, this is what Enoch was preaching about: “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all of their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all of the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” Not exactly what you would call seeker-friendly preaching. He was talking about the second Advent. He was preaching this to his generation who were involved with wickedness. And he says, ‘You know that God is going to come back, and He’s going to judge every one of you, and every single wicked thing that’s come out of your mouths, God is going to hold you accountable for that as well.”
What was Enoch talking about all of those years? He was talking about the second advent of Jesus Christ. Isn’t it interesting that the Flood hasn’t even happened yet? He wasn’t even talking about the Flood. He was talking about the great event that human history is moving towards the return of Jesus Christ to this earth.
The day is coming in history when Jesus will walk this earth once again, just as visibly, as factually, as literally as He did when He was here 2,000 years ago. That’s what Enoch was talking about way back when: the second advent of Christ.
And is it not a tragedy that within the evangelical church today, you can sit in a church for years and years and years and years and not hear a single word about the return of Christ. And yet the New Testament and Old Testament; even the most ancient preacher that we have [record of] was talking about the return of Christ. He wasn’t even talking about, as far as we can tell, the Flood. He was talking about the bodily second advent of Christ.
You know, if you’re under a pastor or in a church that will not talk about the end times, first of all, you need to leave that church. Secondly, you need to understand that person or that leadership is involved in a ministry philosophy that excludes 27% of the Bible. Twenty-seven percent, well over one-quarter of the Bible at the time it was written, deals with the return of Jesus Christ. Anybody who makes any attempt to teach the full Council of God’s Word has to interact and interface with, at some point, the second advent of Christ because God has devoted so much material in His Word to that subject.
Jude 14-15 also tells us that Enoch was the seventh from Adam. Now, you start there with Adam and count down to seven, and we come to this man named Enoch. Enoch is the seventh from Adam, meaning that if Enoch is in fact the seventh from Adam, then there can’t be gaps, as many people say, in these genealogies. As you take a look at these genealogies, particularly here in Genesis 5 [see Slide on Patriarchs, Age and Bible Reference], and it talks about Enoch being the seventh from Adam, there’s no way there could be a missing generation there because you just start with Adam and count down from there to seven, and you get to Enoch. So all of these attempts to find all of these missing ages in these genealogies simply don’t make any sense. You have to abandon what the Bible says to get that to work.
Is it also not interesting that in the other line, the Canite line—the seventh, was a man named Lamech? The Bible wants us to compare and contrast Lamech in the Canite line with Enoch in the Sethite line. [See Slide on Lineage of Adam]
As we have studied, Lamech in the Canite line was what we would call a bad dude, right? [See Slide on II. Ungodly Line of Cain] Violence, polygamy, retribution, humanism. You see all of that in Genesis 4:23-24. And how different is this man named Enoch, who had such a close walk with the Lord that the Lord actually took him? And the reason that we’re to compare and contrast these two characters is [because] the Holy Spirit is asking, ‘Which one are you? Which one are you most like? Which one do you want to be most like?’ I mean, at the end of your life, what will it be said of you? Were you more like Lamech, the seventh in his line, or like Enoch, the seventh in the Sethite line? But take a look again very quickly at 5:24, because it’s a very interesting verse. It says, “Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.” About every other patriarch, it says, “He died. He died. He died.” But not Enoch. Enoch cheated death. The book of Hebrews in the New Testament talks about this in Hebrews 11:5. It says, “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.” I mean, this guy walked with the Lord, fellowshipped with the Lord, communed with the Lord, and God allowed him to have a privilege that no one else in this line ever had—to be exempted from the curse of death itself. Godliness has its privileges. By the way, did you notice this? He was taken up before the Flood; before the judgment of God hit the earth in the global deluge— Enoch was taken. Sounds like a pattern to me.
In fact, Genesis 5:24 is the first of multiple raptures in the Bible. Did you know there are people who say the rapture doctrine, the translation of individuals to heaven before they die, is unbiblical; ‘untheological;’ that it’s unsophisticated to believe something like that? To such an argument, I would say, ‘Well, have you ever read the Bible?’ In Genesis 5, Enoch enjoys a rapture. Same thing happened to Elijah in 2 Kings 2. Even Jesus in His resurrected body was caught up in the ascension in Acts 1:11. Philip was caught up in Acts 8:39, as was Paul, into the third Heaven in 2 Corinthians 12. And John was caught up from Patmos to see the vision that we now call the book of Revelation, Revelation 4:1-2. In the events of the Tribulation period, the two witnesses will be killed, and their bodies will be visible to the entire world, and then they’ll be brought back to life and caught up to heaven as the inhabitants of the earth look on.
The only problem with Philip’s, Paul’s, and John’s raptures is they had to come back to the earth. Now, wouldn’t that kind of be a bummer? It’s sort of like, ‘Lord, if You’re going to take me up, I’d rather just stay up there, thank You very much.’
By the way, when Paul came back from his rapture in 2 Corinthians 12, he didn’t immediately start talking about it. He didn’t make a movie about it. He didn’t try to go around and sell books on it—‘But look at this experience that I’ve had.’ In fact, he wouldn’t even talk about it for 14 years. And he says, “I know someone that was caught up.” He’s sort of embarrassed to even mention the fact that it was him. The experience that Paul had in heaven was so profound that he heard things that a man is not fit to hear, and to prevent pride from dominating him the rest of his earthly existence, he was given by God a thorn in the flesh. We don’t know what that thorn was, but it sure kept Paul in a humble, dependent, and therefore usable state.
I bring this to your attention because there are a lot of people today who claim they’ve had some sort of encounter with God; they’ve been taken into heaven. One man was saying these things back in the 1980s. This is nothing new. And he was talking about how he got into a splash fight with Jesus in the water of life and all of these kinds of things. And they come back, and immediately want to talk about it and immediately want to sell books. They have no accompanying thorn in the flesh that I can see. It’s all about success, notoriety and prosperity. And they could tell you in great detail what they allegedly saw when Paul himself wasn’t even able to describe what he saw. Paul even says, ‘Was I in my body, was I out of my body? I don’t even know.’
And how the experiences of these biblical characters who have these raptures is so different from what you hear today in the world of mass marketing of religion, I take all of that with an extreme grain of salt. We need to get back to the Bible, the whole Bible, and nothing but the Bible. And so this man, Enoch, is the first on the list that had this rapture or this experience with God. And it largely is a type by way of typology of the rapture generation before the Tribulation period.
Paul himself talks about that generation in 1 Corinthians 15:50-51, saying, “Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will be changed.”
What Paul is saying is that at the end of the church age, there will be a generation that does not die. There will be a generation that will cheat death itself. And just as Enoch experienced this before the Flood hit the earth, that generation will experience these things before the seven- year global judgment that we call the seventieth week of Daniel comes to planet earth.
So there are many, many types; many parallels that we can draw between our rapture… By the way, I hope this happens in our lifetime; I can’t guarantee that. Sure hope it does. But if the Lord tarries, there is a generation out there who cheats death. And that’s the rapture of the Church, which will happen before the tribulation period, just as Enoch’s rapture took place before the great global Flood. But having said all that, there’s a lot of differences between Enoch’s rapture and our potential rapture. When Enoch was translated to heaven, he did not receive his resurrected body. You say, ‘Well, how can you be so sure?’ Because Jesus had not been resurrected yet. And Christ’s resurrection is the first fruits. Christ rises first. Christ rising first guarantees others in the chain will rise as well. Just as Christ rose to receive ultimately his resurrected body, at our rapture should this happen in our lifetime, we will receive our resurrected bodies as well. We will be caught up and resurrected simultaneously. As I said in the Sunday school hour, it’s the best deal imaginable because you get your air lift and your face lift all at the same time.
Enoch apparently went into the presence of the Lord, but he was not yet granted his resurrected body because Christ’s resurrection is first fruits, and Christ had not been resurrected yet. So Enoch’s rapture is a little different than our potential rapture. There’s another difference. When it says in 5:24 that he walked with God and God took him, you kind of get the idea that it was because of his godliness that he enjoyed this privilege. Godliness has its privileges. And that is something that is very different than what is described for the rapture of the church. Why do we say that? Because of the word ‘all.’ 1 Corinthians 15:50-51 says, “Now, I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed.” You say, ‘What does all mean?’ It means all. It means that the rapture of the Church is part of God’s grace package to you. It is a benefit that you receive whether you’re walking with God or not. Now, obviously, I would exhort you always to walk with God. But what happens if the rapture should take place at a moment that we are in sin or not walking with God?
A lot of people teach the doctrine of partial rapturism. And they use it really as a motivational technique. The doctrine of partial rapturism essentially says, ‘Hey, if you’re in that movie theater, and you’re watching that bad movie at the moment the rapture occurs, you’re going to be left seated right there in that movie theater. If you’re in that gossipy conversation the moment the rapture happens, you’re going to be left right there.’ And they teach this idea that only the sanctified Christians will be raptured. Only the Christians who are yielded to the Lordship of Jesus Christ at the moment of the rapture will be raptured. If that’s true, that keeps you on your toes, all of your life.
I’m here to tell you, and I’m not advocating unholy living at all, but whether you’re in Christ living in an unholy sense or living in Christ in a holy sense at the moment of the rapture; if you’re in Christ at all…because the Bible talks about three kinds of people. The natural man, and then amongst the saved, you have the babes, the carnal and then the spiritual. It’s all there in your Bible— see 1 Corinthians 3:1-3, and the only thing that’s necessary to participate in the rapture is faith alone in Christ alone. You could be a babe in Christ and still be raptured. You could be carnal in Christ and still be raptured. You could be living for Christ and still be raptured. In fact, there are some Christians who are so carnal and so immature who have spent all of their lives trying to convince people that there’s no such thing as the rapture. I’m convinced that when the rapture happens, they’re going to go up kicking and screaming. I mean, ‘How dare you, God, rapture me!’ Of course, that kicking and screaming will quickly be pacified because they’re translated into a resurrected body at that point.
But you need to understand that this doctrine of partial rapturism is a false doctrine. There are some today who say, ‘You’ve got to love Israel to be raptured. If you’re not a lover of Israel…,’ and by the way, we at Sugar Land Bible Church are lovers of Israel. We promote Israel, are pro-Israel, pro-Zionism, but whether you love Israel or hate Israel or are ambivalent towards Israel, you’re going in the rapture, too. There is no partial rapturism.
With Enoch, you get the impression that it was his walk with the Lord that gave him that privilege. That’s not how it works in the church age. The rapture is part of the grace package that God gives to all Christians, meaning it’s given without merit. And that’s what Paul means when he says in 1 Corinthians 15, “We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed.” Who is he talking to here when he makes those statements? He’s talking to the Corinthian church. Have you read 1 Corinthians lately? In 1 Corinthians 1-4, they’re fighting with each other and aligning themselves over their favorite speakers in the church. ‘I follow Paul, I follow Cephus, I follow Christ.’
In 1 Corinthians 5, they’re involved in incest of such a level of debauchery that Paul says [that] the pagans themselves don’t even do what they’re doing.
In 1 Corinthians 6, they are leaving the marital relationship to have their sexual needs met in the pagan temple which involved prostitution. They’re also suing each other in front of pagan magistrates. And they’re destroying, in the process, the witness of the Church before this pagan judge.
In 1 Corinthians 7, there is rampant divorce and remarriage.
In 1 Corinthians 8-10, you have the stronger brethren flaunting their freedom in the presence of the weaker brethren.
In 1 Corinthians 11, they are drunk and disorderly at the Lord’s table.
In 1 Corinthians 12-14, they are completely imbalanced and out of control on the issue of spiritual gifts, where the tongues talkers are elevated with no interpretation whatsoever. And Paul says ‘If any unsaved person came in here right now, he would think you all are stark-raving mad’ (see 1 Corinthians 14:23).
In 1 Corinthians 15, they don’t even believe the resurrection is true. They’ve thrown that overboard. And that’s why 1 Corinthians 15 is that great resurrection chapter.
And by the way, how would you like to be the Pastor of that group? Paul says, ‘I had a thorn in the flesh.’ I think this group was his thorn in the flesh! Go through that entire book, and Paul never says, ‘You guys aren’t Christians.’ He says, ‘Don’t you know that when you do that with a prostitute that you’re taking the Holy Spirit into that arrangement? Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Corinthians 6:9). And he never says to that group ever, ‘Some of you are going to be raptured and some of you aren’t. You guys better straighten up or you’re going to miss the rapture.’ He’s very clear here that “…we will not all [that means all, all of them] will not sleep, but we will all be changed.” We need to understand this, that there is no partial rapture idea. God is not rapturing people to heaven based on how much progress they make in their sanctification. The rapture is part of the grace package positionally that God gives to every Christian. So when the rapture comes, whether I’m asleep or awake, I’m going in the rapture.
Thus, Enoch had a very interesting experience, and you can use it sort of as a type for our potential rapture. But there are also some key differences. His rapture seems to be based on his walk with God. Ours isn’t. His rapture resulted in no resurrected body. Ours does. By the way, as I’ve tried to communicate, I’m not advocating loose or licentious living. I’m just trying to be biblically faithful and biblically accurate.
So after Enoch is now going to come Methuselah, Lamech, Noah, Shem, Ham and Japheth to earth. [See Slide on Lineage of Adam] Do you notice the two lines—the ungodly line of Cain and the godly line of Seth? Do you notice how the ungodly line stops after seven generations? Now, presumably there were other generations, but they’re just not recorded for us. But the godly line keeps getting recorded. It reminds me of the book of Exodus. In Exodus 20:5-6, it says, “You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.” Isn’t it interesting how the ungodly generations that God only mentions them to the third and fourth generation, but to the generations of the righteous, His loving kindness extends to thousands of generations? There’s a lot in the Bible about how the wicked are just cut off, and their place is not recalled any longer. But how different it is for the godly man or the godly woman who loves the Lord, and raises up generations in the admonition and the exhortation of the Lord— how that line continues to be blessed from age to age to age! You see this pattern here. With only seven generations recorded for the Canites, but the Sethite line goes far longer because that Sethite line is important because it will ultimately lead to Jesus Christ. [See Slide on Lineage of Adam]
Well, let’s see if we can squeeze in Methuselah here before we’re finished. This might take nine hundred and sixty nine years to do, by the way. But notice verses about Methuselah in 5:25-27. It says, “Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and became the father of Lamech.” Different guy, although Lamech’s name is also found in the Canite line. Genesis 5:26 says, “Then Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years after he became the father of Lamech, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years, and he died.” Methuselah fits the same pattern, but there’s one very interesting variation—his name. [See Slide on Six-Fold Pattern] His name in Hebrew means ‘when he dies it shall be sent.’ More on that in a second. We have the name and meaning of Methuselah. We have his age given at the birth of his seed son when Lamech was born— Methuselah was one hundred and eighty-seven years. He lived an additional seven hundred and eighty-two years after the birth of Lamech. And during that time he had other sons and daughters. You can see how the earth is rapidly reaching its seven billion point mark here. Methuselah’s total age was nine hundred and sixty-nine years. He was the oldest man that ever lived. But even though he was the oldest man that ever lived, he eventually died. His death is recorded for us. Let’s focus just for a minute on his name, Methuselah. What does that mean? Arnold Fruchtenbaum writes this, “In Hebrew, Methuselah may mean ‘man of the spear,’ or more likely, ‘when he dies, it shall be sent.’ [That’s what his name means]. If this is true, his name was given to him prophetically. ‘It shall be sent’ was a prophecy of the Flood, as Methuselah’s father, who was also functioning as a prophet according to Jude 14-15, gave him this name. Indeed, according to the chronology of Genesis, the very year Methuselah died, the Flood came.”
In other words, Enoch, his father, was a prophet. Enoch prophesied before the Flood about the second advent of Christ Jude 14-15. We looked at those verses a little earlier, but Enoch, as a prophet, made a second prophecy, and he gave his son Methuselah, his seed son, his firstborn son, a name which in Hebrew means ‘when he dies, it shall be sent,’ meaning, ‘As long as you’re alive, Methuselah, the Flood won’t come. But when you die, the judgment of God via the Flood will take place.’ Could you imagine having a kid like that? Every time he got a runny nose or scraped his knee, you would just freak out.
But that’s what is bound up with this name, Methuselah. In fact, Methuselah was eight hundred and fifty years old when Noah began building the ark. And it’s a fascinating name, and it’s also fascinating to note not just the meaning of his name, but that he is the oldest man in human history. Nobody has ever outlived Methuselah. Not even Adam. Adam died at the age of nine hundred and thirty, not Methuselah. Methuselah is the oldest living man.
Here’s what I think the Holy Spirit wants us to understand about the nature and character of God. God, through the name Methuselah said, ‘The judgment will come when you die. And yet I am allowing you to live the longest of any person ever.’ In other words, God attached the coming judgment via the Flood to the longest living man. Now what does that transaction reveal about God? What it reveals about God is that God is long-suffering. God is not a God, that He brings judgment immediately. He gives everybody ample grace and opportunity to receive His grace before the judgment comes. It reminds me of the two sons, you remember there in Luke 9, the Sons of Thunder, James and John. They came at the end of Luke 9 into a Samaritan village, and probably for seven hundred years, the Jews hated the Samaritans and the Samaritans hated the Jews. We talk in our culture about racial conflict, well, you’ve got one right there for seven centuries. And these Samaritans were really not receptive to the ministry of Jesus Christ. The Sons of Thunder say to Jesus, ‘Should we not call fire down from Heaven and destroy these people like Elijah did?’ Kind of the Arnold Schwarzenegger method of evangelism. Terminator. Burn them up, wipe them out, kill them. You know, as America descends into more and more wickedness and ungodliness, and this last election cycle certainly didn’t help things, it is so easy to become angry at the culture for rejecting the obvious. Yet we need to start to look at things the way God does. We can so easily degenerate into a Sons of Thunder mindset where we are calling the judgment down upon wickedness in the United States of America, forgetting the fact that God did not bring judgment instantaneously in the days of the Flood. You want to talk about the wickedness in our culture? Yeah, It’s getting bad. But as we get into Genesis 6, it was far worse prior to the Flood, yet God specifically would not move in judgment until the oldest man died. The long-suffering of God. Jesus rebuked the Sons of Thunder—He says, ‘You don’t even know in what spirit you’re talking.’ You know, I catch myself so many times doing that—calling down the retribution of God on someone or something, forgetting the words of Jesus Christ. ‘You don’t even—you’re not even speaking of the right spirit of Christ for the Son of Man has come into the world not to destroy the lives of people, but to liberate them and emancipate them.’
Now, believe me, I’m not saying the judgment of God is never going to come. It is. But let’s not be too quick to the draw here when we consider Methuselah and the long-suffering of God. Genesis 6:3, my reading of it is that God, prior to the Flood, waited 120 years. That’s a long time. That’s the length of the United States of America, roughly times two. And that was, as we’ll see, a wicked, wicked lot. And God waited and was patient.
How about the Canaanites? Have you read about the Canaanites lately? Have you seen some of the things that the Canaanites were practicing in terms of sexual immorality, incest, offering their own children into a fire to satisfy a God named Molech? Read Leviticus 18 and 20, and you can’t find a more depraved, wicked group of people. Yet, what does Genesis 15:16, say? It says, “Then in the fourth generation they [that’s Israel] will return here, for the iniquity of the Amorite is not yet complete.” Yeah, they’re bad, but they’re not as bad as they’re going to get, and I’m going to wait 400 years before General Joshua, in the book of Joshua, slaughters these people. See, everybody today, all the atheists are mad at God, because He sent the Flood, and Joshua slaughtered the Canaanites and they say, ‘How could a God of love do something like that?’ And they never talk about the 120 years God waited. Nor do they talk about that God connected judgment to the oldest living man, Methuselah. Nor do they talk about, in all of the attacks on God’s character that I’ve ever read, based on the Canaanite slaughter in the book of Joshua, they never referenced Genesis 15:16 where God waits for 400 years.
You know, there’s a there’s a troubling thing happening today in the body of Christ. I’ve observed that when a wicked person dies, I see people celebrating the death of that person. And I’m wondering, is that what God thinks? I mean, does God celebrate the death of a wicked person? I can tell you for a fact that God does no such thing. In Ezekiel 18:23, God says, “Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord GOD, “rather than that he should turn from his way and live?” Ezekiel 18:32, “For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,” declares the Lord GOD. Therefore, repent and live.”
We’ve got to be very careful how we’re representing God to the world. God is not some short- tempered gunslinger. I realize that we’re in the state of Texas. I get all that. I understand that we have a particular set of morals and principles. I’m in favor of all of that. But we many times forget the patience of God; the long-suffering of God. We forget very quickly the grace that’s come to us. I’m sure glad God didn’t bring judgment prior to 1983 because 1983 was when I got saved. God held up everything for me. Do you realize that? And I have no corner on God. God knew the time in history when you would get saved, so he deliberately held back judgment until the day of salvation.
In 1 Timothy 2:4, it says of God, “Who desires all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” In 1 Peter 3:20 it says, “…when the patience of God kept waiting in the days of Noah,…” Boy, we see that in this name, Methuselah, don’t we? We see it here in Genesis 6:3 where God is waiting 120 years. In 2 Peter 3:8-9, it says this, “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”
You know, you think of some of the most notorious names today. I mean, when you think of the name Hunter Biden, what comes into your mind? I know what comes into my mind. But what comes into God’s mind? Did Jesus not die for Hunter Biden? Did He not die for every wicked person on planet earth? Is it not the heart of God that all people would hear the gospel and be saved?
This is one of the reasons that I just didn’t want to rush through this genealogy, because once you hit this name, Methuselah, you really learn something about God that you can’t learn as clearly, I don’t think, anywhere else in the Scripture.
And from that, I can’t think of a better transition into the Gospel, which is the idea or the truth that Jesus 2,000 years ago, through His death, burial, resurrection and ascension, paid a price that I couldn’t pay and you can’t pay. But He paid it in our place because He loves us. And He rose bodily from the dead, and He commands us to trust in what He has done 2,000 years ago. And maybe the judgment of God has not [yet] come so that today you could hear this message because God loves you that much. And so our exhortation as we think of the judgment of God, which is inevitable, but at the same time, the long-suffering of God and the patience of God is to exhort people to respond to this message of salvation by trusting in what He has done. Today is not the day of judgment. Today is the day of grace. I would much rather be a prophet or a preacher of grace than I would of judgment. And God, today, has given me that privilege. He’s also given you that you that privilege as you, in love, share your faith with the lost who God loves so much that He shed His blood for them.
The Spirit of God has come into the world to convict men and women of their need to trust in Christ prior to the day of judgment. That opportunity is wide open today. I don’t know how long it will last, but it’s there today. And our exhortation for anybody within the sound of my voice is to respond to that graceful message and put their trust in Christ and Christ alone for salvation. I can’t guarantee that that invitation or opportunity will be available next week. I sure hope it is, but I know this much, it’s available right now. Why not take advantage of it?
If anybody needs additional information or guidance on this, I’m available after the service to talk, and we’ll reconvene next Lord’s Day and pick it up there with the last two names in our genealogy Lamech, and then a man named Noah.
Shall we pray? Father, we’re grateful for this list. It’s so easy to just rush through this and not grasp what’s happening. But You’ve revealed great insights about who You are and Your character by giving us these ancient names. Help us to be good stewards of these things. We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said, AMEN!’