Genesis 024 – My Three SonsGenesis 5:28-32 • Dr. Andy Woods • January 31, 2021 • Genesis
“My Three Sons”
Let’s take our Bibles, if we could, and open them to the Book of Genesis 5. The title of our message this morning is “My Three Sons.” You say, ‘Andy, you watched way too much TV growing up.’ The young people are saying, ‘What is he talking about?’ Does anybody remember that show, “My Three Sons?” Okay, good.
As you’re turning to Genesis 5:28, I just want to let you know of one of our greats who went to be with the Lord. I don’t know if any of you know Tom, Dr. Tom McCall, who worked a long time with Zola Levitt in ministries related to Israel, Hebrews—reaching the Jews for Christ. He was the first, if I have my story right, the first graduate of the Old Testament department at Dallas Seminary. So I knew Tom, Dr. McCall for a number of years through my association with the Pre-Trib Study Group, and just want to let you know that he has been graduated unto heaven. So keep his family, if you could, in prayer during this time.
We continue to move through the Book of Genesis. The first major part of the Book of Genesis is the beginning of the human race. This has four parts: Creation, Genesis 1-2, and it’s in creation where we learn that God created a world without sin in it, and everything was functioning perfectly—until you get to the second major category, which is the Fall, Genesis 3-5. In Genesis 3, everything changes: the fall of man. Yet that chapter, as depressing as it is, is really the first chapter that gives us hope because there we learn that there’s coming One from the seed of the woman Eve, who is going to crush Satan’s head, and will restore everything to God’s original design before things went awry in Genesis 3. That’s your first prophecy—in Genesis 3:15 of a coming Messiah. It is so necessary to understand that verse, to understand everything that’s now happening, not just in the Book of Genesis as we move through it, but in the entire Bible. Because what Satan does in Genesis 4 is that he influences Cain to murder Abel. Satan, in his darkened mind, believed that this Messiah was coming through the line of Abel. Satan says, ‘I’ll stop this right now.’ Cain murders Abel, and Satan, through Cain’s descendants, constructed a society without God in it at all. Satan built the New World Order, Genesis 4:16-24, and it looks as if Satan won until you get to the last two verses in the chapter where we learn that there’s going to be a substitute for Abel. His name is Seth; through Seth is going to come a godly line that’s going to lead ultimately to Jesus Christ. That’s the godly line that we have been studying in Genesis 5. So Genesis 5, as we have been looking at, I’m hoping, Lord willing, that we’ll finish Genesis 5 today.
So the Flood will start coming next week, in other words. But Genesis 5 is the line through which the Messiah is going to come. It’s a line that starts with Adam and extends all the way to a man named Noah, the last person mentioned in Genesis 5. It’s interesting that when you move through this line, these various patriarchs— we call these the antediluvian patriarchs, the pre-Flood patriarchs, have a knowledge that a Messiah is coming. Some of them, as we’re going to see today, name their own children accordingly. They were aware of the promise of Genesis 3:15 as it began to be passed down via oral tradition.
So we’ve looked at an outline of Genesis 5; it’s an outline, as you move through it, that’s sort of monotonous. It keeps reading the same way over and over again. As we’ve tried to emphasize, it repeats about six things for ten different patriarchs, and we’ve tried to emphasize that there’s actually a method to the madness. It keeps repeating the same things until you get to the last three names on the list, and then it goes outside of the pattern. The reason you know it’s going outside of the pattern is because you keep reading the pattern, but then in the last three names, something goes outside the pattern, and the Holy Spirit then taps you on your shoulder and says, ‘Pay attention to these deviations, because I want to teach you something here that you can’t learn anywhere else in the Bible.’
The pattern gets violated, as we saw last week, with a man named Enoch. The last three names give us hope in the midst of perpetual death. It keeps saying, ‘…and he died and he died and he died.’ And it’s somewhat depressing, but suddenly you get to this man named Enoch, and it says, “God took him.” So he didn’t die physically, as the rest did, and it gives us hope that one day, even that last enemy called death itself is going to be abolished.
And we looked from there at a man named Methuselah. The meaning of Methuselah’s name as we have talked about, is as follows: ‘“…when he dies, it shall be sent’” meaning that God attached the coming Flood to the death of a man named Methuselah, and you could imagine if you had a kid like that with that kind of name that every time he scraped his knee, you’d get nervous. But Enoch’s father who was a prophet, gave him a prophecy according to his own name. The name of Methuselah is “when he dies, the Flood will come.” We have emphasized that it’s no coincidence Methuselah is the oldest living man. He lived to the ripe old age of 969, and that shows you the character of God—how God is reluctant to judge. God is long-suffering. As the book of Romans says, ‘He reaches out all day to a disobedient and obstinate people,’ and He is not a trigger-happy God at all. He is long-suffering, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.
As we speak today, in the year 2021, that is the reason why the judgment of God has not yet come to this well-deserved earth, an earth ripe for judgment. Why hasn’t judgment come? Does that mean judgment will never come? No. What it means is that God is long-suffering, and maybe today, within the sound of my voice, somebody’s going to get saved. Maybe God has held up judgment just for that individual. Maybe that individual is you. That individual was me in 1983; that’s when I got saved. God looked out through the corridors of time, and He saw my salvation, and He postponed judgment so I could enter the metaphorical ark. He did that for you, and He’s doing that today for others. And so “when he dies, it shall be sent,” the Flood’s going to come when Methuselah dies, but it’s no accident, no coincidence that Methuselah is the oldest living man in human history.
What we move into now is the final two names on this list: a man named Lamech and then a man named Noah. Notice, if you will, Genesis 5:28-31. It says, “Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and became the father of a son. Now he called his name Noah....[Now, notice this is outside the pattern]… Now he called his name Noah, saying “This one will give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground, which the LORD has cursed.” Genesis 5:30, ”Then Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years after he became the father of Noah, and he had other sons and daughters. So all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years and he died.”
Now here’s the same repetition for six pieces of information. You have this man named Lamech. His name actually means warrior in Hebrew, or conquest. He had Noah. Lamech is Noah’s father. He was the ripe old age of 182 when his seed-son Noah, was born.
Then, after the birth of Noah, Lamech lived an additional 595 years. It’s interesting in 5:30 as it talks about how Lamech, during that 595-year period, had other sons and daughters besides Noah who would be Noah’s siblings. Now this is getting serious because that group right there, the siblings of Noah, will perish in the Flood. These are real people with real circumstances in a real situation. You could imagine the anguish of Noah after 120 years of warning as he went into the ark with only himself, his wife and his three sons. By the way, his three sons are mentioned in 5:32. Hence the title of this sermon, “My Three Sons” and their respective wives, eight total in the ark.
You can imagine the anguish that Noah went through with his own siblings perishing in this Flood. Lamech lived a grand total of 777 years and he died. Now what’s interesting here is the deviation; this is the only time this occurs in the entire list. It says in 5:29, “Now he called his name Noah.” This is Lamech naming Noah. “This one shall give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the Lord has cursed.” Here is what’s recorded for us, something that’s not recorded elsewhere for any of these other names. Lamech names Noah; he gives him a name. Now, that in and of itself shows you that you cannot have missing generations between Lamech and Noah. I bring this up because the great thrust of many people, because they’re trying to harmonize the Bible with what their college professors or elementary school teachers taught them: that this earth has been here for 4.5 billion years. People they think that’s a scientific fact, and then they get saved, and they try to make the Bible fit with what they think is science. I know this for certain because this is what I tried to do for years. I was taught going through my public school system that evolution was a scientific fact, and then I got saved, I looked at the Bible, and I said, ‘Uh oh, I’ve got to find some missing years here because evolution has to have billions of years for it to work.‘ So one of the games that people do is to try to stretch these genealogies out, and try to find a missing thousand years here or a missing thousand years there between Lamech and Noah and these other names. As my professor, Dr. Toussaint used to say, ‘That dog won’t hunt.’ Why is that? Because Lamech is naming Noah. Parents name their own children, don’t they? I mean, it’s typically not the grandparents that name kids. Now, I know we’ve got some possessive and controlling grandparents out there in the world, but grandparents don’t name the grandkids—they may want to. Great, great, great grandparents don’t name the great, great, great, great grandkids. It’s the parents’ job to do that, and if Lamech is naming Noah, then obviously there’s no missing generation between Lamech and Noah.
Back up to Genesis 4:25,26. Notice the first two names on this list. It says, “…Adam had relations with his wife again; and she gave birth to a son, and named Seth, for she said, “God has appointed me another offspring in the place of Abel, for Cain killed him.”
Now you’ll notice that Adam and Eve named Seth so there can’t be a missing million years between Adam and Seth. Then look at Genesis 4:26. It says, “…To Seth, to him also a son was born; and he called his name Enosh. Then men began to call upon the name of the LORD.”
Notice again that Seth names the next one, Enosh. I don’t think there’s a missing million years between Seth and Enosh. And if all of that weren’t clear enough, Jude 14 calls Enoch the seventh from Adam. So just start with Adam being number one and count down seven, and you come to Enoch.
Notice that the Lord’s half brother, Jude, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says that there are no missing generations between Adam and Enoch. I bring this up because at some point you have to decide what you believe; who has authority in your mind. Is it all of these teachers and professors that are arguing from the goo to you by way of the zoo over billions of years? Or is it what the Bible says? The interesting thing about God and His Word is that He is not interested in fitting into another man-made system. The great temptation of the Christian is to synchrotize (attempt to reconcile) the Bible with pagan beliefs, but the more interested you become in the Bible, the less you see you have an ability to do that. There’s less wiggle room, so to speak, and you have to make a choice. I had to start making that choice as a teenager as I was growing in my faith. The Bible is more impressive to me than all of these so-called scientists, who by the way, weren’t even present 4.5 billion years ago, and frankly, have no idea how everything started—they’re pontificating; guessing as non-eyewitnesses. Yet God, Himself was an eyewitness.
So notice that Lamech names Noah, and Noah’s name actually means comfort—there’s a reason for this. I have these three mentioned here on this slide, [see slide on Genealogy: Adam to Noah] because these are the three names that go outside the pattern, and they actually give us hope: hope that death will be done away with one day, Genesis 5:24, They reveal to us the long-suffering of God—Methuselah’s very name: “when he dies, it shall be sent.”
The third deviation from the pattern is right here when Lamech actually gives a name to Noah. Now, why would somebody make this statement about their son? “This one,”[their son, Lamech, speaking of Noah,] “This one will give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the Lord has cursed.”
Why would Lamech say that about Noah and name him after the name, comfort? It’s because all of these ancient patriarchs had a knowledge of Genesis 3:15. Genesis 3:15, the first messianic prophecy was understood. It was spoken in the presence of Eve, and it was passed down through the generations. All of them, in some form or substance, believe that there was coming a Messiah one day who was going to reverse what went wrong in Genesis 3.
In fact, this is what Eve said when Cain was born. Genesis 4:1, “Now, the man had relations with his wife, Eve, and she conceived and she gave birth to Cain, and she said, ‘I have gotten a man child with the help of the Lord.’” When we were in Genesis 4:1, I had you note the fact that “with the help of“ is in italics. I’m reading from the New American Standard Bible. When your English translation puts words in italics, what does that mean? It means that those words are not in the original Hebrew text, but have been supplied by the translators to smooth over the translation to make it easier in English to read what’s happening in Hebrew. The translators generally do a pretty good job, but here’s an area where I think they really goofed it up because when you remove “with the help of,” the meaning which I think is obscured by the translation becomes clear. What does it say without the italics? It says, “Now the man had relations with his wife, Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, ‘I have gotten a manchild the Lord.’”
In other words, she thought that her baby boy, Cain, (sounds like a typical mom, by the way), was the Messiah. Boy, talk about parental disappointment. He was not the Messiah. He was the world’s first murderer. But where did Eve have this idea in her mind that from her seed, from her lineage, a Messiah would be born? Well, she had it from Genesis 3:15, because she was there in Eden when that prophecy by God, was spoken and articulated.
So this knowledge of a coming Messiah keeps getting passed down through the generations, and this is why Lamech gives Noah the name that he gives him. It says again, Genesis 5:29, “Now, he called his name Noah, saying, ‘This one will give us rest from our work and from the toil of our hands arising from the ground which the Lord has cursed.”
In other words, what Lamech thought of Noah was that Noah was the Messiah, and Noah was the one that was going to, as the Messiah is supposed to do, Genesis 3:15, Noah was going to be the one who was going to reverse the curse. In fact, when you back up in the Bible, to Genesis 3:17, this is the only other time that the word cursed has been used thus far. It says,‘“Cursed is the ground because of you; In toil you will eat of it All the days of your life.’” This is the circumstance that humanity is in due to the fall of man, and it’s very depressing to think about that until you realize that there’s coming a Messiah who’s going to reverse the curse. Eve thought that Cain is the guy; Lamech thought, Noah is the guy, and consequently gave Noah his name. The name of Noah actually means comfort.
Arnold Fruchtenbaum describes Lamech’s naming of Noah as follows. It says, “Then comes the break from the norm. [In other words, the pattern is being broken]. In Genesis 5:29, Lamech names his seed-son: He called his name Noah: saying, This [man] same shall comfort us. The Hebrew word for comfort is nacham; hence Noah means ‘comfort.’ Here again is a word play that only works in Hebrew. The name was given on the assumption that Noah was the Seed of the Woman or the Messiah: This same shall comfort us in our work and in the toil of our hands, which comes because of the ground which Jehovah had cursed, in reference to the [original] Adamic curse.”
Arnold Fruchtenbaum goes on and he says, “Lamech made the same mistake that Eve made. When Cain was born, Eve thought that he was the Messiah. When Lamech sired Noah, he recognized that Noah was going to play an important role in human history. But he misinterpreted that role, and Lamech thought that Noah was the Messiah and would remove the Adamic curse from the earth. So Lemach recognized that Noah was a special person in the will and plan of God, but made the wrong application.”
This knowledge of a Messiah keeps getting passed down and everybody is so aware of it that they actually think their own kids are going to be a fulfillment of it. Not to subtract or detract from anything that Noah did, because Noah was a tremendous man of God, and he walked by faith. Had it not been for God’s work in and through Noah, the whole human race would have perished in the global Deluge. Noah was no Messiah. That’s why in the post-Flood world, Noah’s drunkenness is recorded for us. Eventually, we’ll get to Genesis 9:20-21, which says, “Then Noah began farming and planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk, and uncovered himself in his tent.” You say, ‘Well, why do I need to know that? I mean, I had a pretty high opinion of Noah until I read that. Why does God have to ruin it by telling us the man’s sins?’ There’s a simple reason for it. Moses, the writer of the Book of Genesis, records this so nobody gets the mistaken impression that Noah is somehow the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15. Noah had skeletons in his closet like the rest of us do.
Cain is no fulfillment of Genesis 3:15 because of the first murder. Noah isn’t either because of his drunkenness. So if Cain is not the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15, and if Noah is not the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15, where should I look for the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15? Keep looking onward and forward because there’s coming into the world a Man who will be uncorrupted by a sin nature who won’t commit murder. Nor will He be involved in drunkenness, and He will live a perfect life in your place as only a Messiah can do, and He will absorb the sin debt of the entire world. That coming One is none other than Jesus Christ who would come. He came 2,000 years ago.
So the reason that the problems of Noah and of Cain are recorded for us is it’s to keep us pushing our eyes forward to this coming Messiah. Don’t put your eyes on man as your Messiah. Put your eyes on the coming One, Jesus Christ Himself. This is why Daniel 11:37 says what it says about the future Antichrist. It says this of the coming Antichrist, “He will show no regard for the gods of his fathers or for the desire of women.” I’ve heard a lot of speculative although interesting sermons on Daniel 11:37. ‘Well, there it is in the Bible, the Antichrist is going to be a transgender. There it is in the Bible. The Antichrist is going to be a homosexual because he won’t have the desire of women.’ Think about this for a minute. What was the desire of women in Old Testament times? What was the desire of every Jewish woman? What was the desire of Eve? What was her desire? What was the desire, no doubt, of Lamech’s wife? They all wanted to be the one who would give birth to this Messiah. That honor was not given to any woman, only to Mary. So when it says the Antichrist “…will show no regard for the desire of women,” the desire of women is a synonym for the Messiah. So when the Antichrist comes, it’s not saying here that he’s going to be a homosexual or a transgender. It’s saying that he will show no regard for “the desire of women,” which is the Messiah. He will try to replace the Messiah. He will be one in opposition to the Messiah.
You continue to read this, and 595 years pass after this birth of Noah. There is a record here of Noah’s siblings that perished in the Flood. Lamech lives to the ripe old age of 777 years, “and he died.” That ancient enemy called death is still there, and other than for Enoch who was miraculously translated into heaven, death comes for every single person because in Adam all die. Yet, as you watch people die, I just mentioned earlier Dr. Tom McCall’s death. It’s difficult and painful to see a friend die. At the same time, the Christian lives with hope that the blight of death, the curse of death, is going to be reversed one day by this coming Messiah. As Christians, we know that Messiah came 2,000 years ago. As we trust in Him and Him alone for salvation, you can look death right in the eyes and not be afraid of it because he came into the world to eradicate death.
Now we come to 5:32, which is the very last name on the list. Notice what it says of Noah, the descendant of Lamech. It says, “Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah became the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth.” Noah’s name means comfort or rest; we’ve explained why that is. It was a mistake in naming him thinking that he was the Messiah, and by the time he hits the age of 500, he has three other sons. There’s where my sermon title comes from. Three other sons are born by that age of 500, and those sons are named Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Those are the three sons who will come out of the ark following the global Flood, and they will repopulate the entire earth. Shem’s name actually means name, and you have to keep your eye on Shem because God made a promise, or will make a promise to Shem in Genesis 9:26. It says this of Shem: He also said, “Blessed be the LORD, The God of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant.”
So this messianic line that’s been carefully traced for us — now we learn that it’s coming through, Noah; through Noah’s three sons, not all three sons, but one son; that son is named Shem. That’s why in the genealogy leading to Jesus Christ in Luke 3, you will see the name Shem.
When we get to Genesis 11, there’s going to be a second genealogy, a post-Flood genealogy, just like we’re studying here, a pre-Flood genealogy, and that genealogy will start with Shem. Why Shem? Because God says the Messiah is going to come through Shem. Through that line in that second genealogy, Shem is at the beginning, and a man named Terah is at the end. You say, ‘Well, why is Terah significant?’ Terah is the father of a man named Abram, who would later become Abraham, and it’s through this man, Abram, later Abraham, that God is going to form a special nation, the nation of Israel through which the Messiah, or Jesus Christ, is going to ultimately be born. Shem’s name means Shem, and it’s from the name Shem that you get the word semitic. This is where we start to learn that the Messiah is going to come from the semitic people groups of the Earth. We’re not told yet that it’s Israel, but the semitic people groups would include the Jews, the Arabs, the Assyrians, the Syrians and the Babylonians. The Holy Spirit is saying, ‘Keep your eye on that group, the semitic people groups, because one of these days a Messiah is going to come from that group.’ Later biblical information pinpoints what people group we’re talking about within that mass of humanity: a special nation called Israel, the Hebrews, or the Jews.
Now, you’ll also notice here there’s another son named Ham. Ham’s name means hot and from Ham is going to come a group of people called the Canaanites. The Canaanites are going to occupy an area called Africa, and they’re also, if you look at our map here, and if your eyes are good, you will see that they’re also going to occupy an area called Canaan, which later would be designated as the land of Israel. There’s something that’s going to go on with the inhabitants of Ham, or Canaan in Genesis 9 related to wickedness. They’re going to commit a sin of uncovering their father’s, [Noah] nakedness. That group who went into Canaan is under a curse. Now, listen to me very carefully: they’re not under a curse because of race. Nor are they under a curse because of genetics—that is a mishandling, or a misapplication of that verse. Many people use that verse to justify racism and slavery; nothing could be further from the mind of the biblical writers, but Ham, or Canaan, learned some bad stuff from their forebear, Ham, and as the saying goes, ‘the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.’
Because of the sinful behavior learned from Ham, they are going to be under a curse. Now, why would this information be necessary? Because the person writing it is Moses, and he’s trying to prepare the Joshua generation for the conquest of Canaan centuries later. God is going to say to Joshua, ‘I want you to go into the land of Canaan, and I want you to eradicate the Canaanites—man, woman, child, animal. Just destroy all of them.’ Unless you have this background in terms of what’s going to happen in Genesis 9, put yourself in Joshua’s shoes. ‘What did the Canaanites do that was wrong?’ Well, they did a lot of things that were wrong. They were involved in unspeakable evil, and it has nothing to do with their genetics. It has nothing to do with their race. It has to do with a behavior that they learned from Ham. Ham settling in Africa and then in Canaan from that standpoint becomes very significant. This is an apologetic, in other words, for the eradication of the Canaanites read about in the book of Joshua.
So Genesis is the root of all of these subsequent doctrines that are coming. Then there’s another son named Japheth. His name means beauty, and from Japheth is going to come the European nations, and ultimately, the North American continent.
And so from these three in the Ark with their wives and Noah and his wife, eight total in the ark—2 Peter 2:5 tells us ‘Noah and seven others.’ And 1 Peter 3:18-20 tells us of eight people in the ark. The whole world is going to be repopulated in the post-Flood world. That’s why those names are significant.
And that takes us to the end of the chapter, and you say, ‘Well, praise the Lord, that means we’re done, right? We’re finally going to beat the Baptists to the cafeteria today.’ No, not quite, because I want to give you, in Genesis 5, three concluding observations:
The first observation is this: What in the world was the world’s first language? Have you ever asked yourself that question? After all, we know that the world just spoke one tongue or one language, and that didn’t change until the Tower of Babel. It says in Genesis 11:1, “Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words.” Have you asked yourself this question: what was that language? People email me and want to know what that language was. My answer prior to this week was, ‘I don’t know. I wasn’t there.’ I really didn’t take a view or a position on it. I just didn’t see how it really mattered. But you’ll notice I’ve been using the commentary of Arnold Fruchtenbaum, and he makes a statement that I had really never thought about before. He says, “A second observation is that all these ten names [and we’ve given you the meaning of each of these names as we’ve gone through this; the meaning of all of these names…] are Hebrew names and only make sense in Hebrew, although Jewish history has not yet begun.” [Jewish history, of course, would not begin until Genesis 12]. “Moreover, all these people and their names existed prior to the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11, again indicating that the first language was the Hebrew language.”
Arnold Fruchtenbaum, being a Hebrew scholar, notes that all of these names have meaning like Noah’s name, meaning comfort, only in Hebrew. So it wouldn’t at all surprise me to learn one day that the very first language that existed all over planet Earth was the Hebrew language. I hope you understand something about the Hebrew language: It’s a miracle language.
It’s interesting that Rome speaking Latin pushed the Jews out of their homeland in AD 70, and look at how different things are today. Rome is gone as a world power, Latin is a dead language, and tiny Israel remains, and Hebrew itself has been brought back to life. How has it been brought back to life? It’s a very interesting study when you look into a man that lived from 1858 to 1922 named Ben Yehuda in Israel. It’s largely he who was responsible for reviving the Hebrew language. He would not allow any of his children in his household to speak any other language than Hebrew. Of course, there are many modern words that didn’t have Hebrew equivalents. So he started to compile his own dictionary, giving new Hebrew names to new ideas that the ancient Hebrews knew nothing of—names like computer, internet, car. Through this process of simply trying to revive Hebrew and having the language of Hebrew only spoken in his home, it’s interesting what God has done; He has brought back the Hebrew language to life, and that is now the language of Israel today!
If Hebrew is a miracle language, it really wouldn’t surprise me one day to learn that at one time in human history, Hebrew was the first language spoken of. Now, would I start a new church over this? Not necessarily. You can’t be dogmatic on something like this, but I just find it very interesting to think about—that perhaps Hebrew was the first tongue.
Something else, in terms of an observation I’ll point you to is this: isn’t it interesting how all of these antediluvian or early patriarchs, pre-Flood patriarchs, lived through successive generations? Look at our chart here, and look at Adam’s life, [see slide on Genealogy From Adam to Noah] how he lived to the age of 930. That would take him through Seth’s life, Enosh’s life, Canaan’s life, Mahalalel’s life, and Jared’s life, and it would even bring you into a little bit there, of the life of Lamech. Think of living like that through multiple generations. This is an abnormality to us today. If you have grandparents or great grandparents, you’re considered fortunate. But think of having people that you could talk to in your own family line that would go back multiple, multiple, multiple, multiple generations. ‘Gee, you know, Grandma, what was Grandpa like? Well, let’s go talk to his parents, or let’s go talk to his grandparents,’ or to put it sort of in modern day vernacular, you’re studying the Declaration of Independence which was written by Thomas Jefferson, and come to a phrase in the Declaration of Independence that you don’t really understand, and you get into a big debate about what Thomas Jefferson meant by this phrase. Finally someone says, ‘Okay, everybody, let’s just forget the debate. Everybody get in the car. Pack up the kids, and let’s just take a family trip and visit Virginia, [I believe], and talk to old Tom about this, and ask yourself, what did he mean by this particular phrase?‘ You could see the knowledge capital that could easily be passed down through the generations.
Arnold Fruchtenbaum puts it this way, “Adam lived until the 56th year of Lamech, the father of Noah. This means the tradition as told from Adam to his descendants was once removed from Lamech and only twice removed from Noah.”
Think of the knowledge that could be gained. The problem with this crowd is they became increasingly wicked on a global scale. They became technological giants but ethical midgets; they didn’t know what to do with their knowledge capital that had accumulated because Genesis 6:5 says ‘every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.’
This is a circumstance—there are multiple generations that apparently is going to be revived in the millennial kingdom. Isaiah 65, look at our chart there, the second advent, go to the right, the 1,000-year kingdom. This circumstance here prior to the Flood of people living through multiple generations is something that’s actually brought back to life in the millennial kingdom itself. Isaiah 65:20 says, “No longer [concerning the millennial kingdom] will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, Or an old man who does not live out his days; For the youth will die at the age of one hundred And the one who does not reach the age of one hundred will be thought accursed.” Today when someone reaches the age of 100, we say, ‘Wow, they’ve lived a long life.’ But that’s not what it is going to be like in the millennial kingdom. Someone will die at the age of 100, and everybody will sit around and say, ‘What a tragedy such a young man died.’
Isaiah 65:22 says, “They will not build and another inhabit, They will not plant and another eat; For as the lifetime of a tree…,[think about that—a tree that outlives multiple human generations today] …For as the lifetime of a tree, so will be the days of My people, And my chosen ones will wear out the work of their hands.”
Think of buying or building a new house. Typically, you leave that house to your descendants in your will because it’s understood that you’re going to wear out and die much faster than that house will. But in the millennial kingdom, the life spans of people are so long that you say, ‘Well, that new house we just bought and built, I guess we need another one because we’re still here and the house has worn out.’ That’s the kind of thing that was happening prior to the Flood, and that is the kind of thing that is going to be happening one day, once again, in the millennial kingdom. If people that are creators or inventors or the dispersers of knowledge are still alive, think about the knowledge that was passed through the generations just prior to the Flood.
We’ve already made reference to the fact that the Canite line was very technologically sophisticated dealing in both bronze and iron. Apparently that level of sophistication continued right up on into the Flood as the human race became tremendously knowledgeable. But the problem is, as their knowledge increased, there was no corresponding check on their sin nature. It’s a dangerous thing when somebody has great knowledge, but at the same time, great wickedness. God cannot allow that situation to continue on much longer. Genesis 11:6 says of this great knowledge that they possessed, The Lord said, “Behold, they are one people, and they all have have the same language. And this is what they began to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them.”
God, here at the Tower of Babel says, ‘I’ve got to put the brakes on things because this knowledge that everybody has, there’s no corresponding curb to the sin nature and the knowledge can be abused.’
Once you start to understand this, you start to understand why God sent the Flood. There was a problem in the pre-Flood world. There was great knowledge passed down through the generations, and yet man’s thoughts and man’s heart was continually wicked and they were taking that great knowledge and were using it for abusive purposes. Finally God said, ‘That’s it. I’m going to bring judgment.’
I think there’s a great parallel for our day because look at the technological insights and innovations that we’re sitting on. Look at what they’re talking about today with this vaccination, and some argue of its potentiality to alter the DNA of human beings. Look at all of these great insights, all of these technological leaps, the problem with us is though we’re technological giants, ethically, we are still midgets. That’s a combination apparently, that God doesn’t allow to exist for very long. Eventually God says, ‘I’ve got to destroy everything. I’ve got to bring judgment, or else these people will abuse themselves and others to death.’
You know, the only difference with Adolf Hitler, who almost conquered the known world, and today is just the “T” word— Technology. If Hitler had possessed the type of technology that we have today, you can see how his ambition of worldwide conquest could have been achieved. Yet here we are. Our nature hasn’t changed, and we’re sitting on all this technology, and biblically, the Bible tells us that one of these days there’s going to come one, the man of sin, the man of destruction, the Antichrist, who will use that technology to enslave the world. As that unhealthy combination exists between depravity and vast technology, God says ‘I can’t allow it to go on much further.’ The judgment of God comes. Did not Jesus say, “As it was in the days of Noah,...” [which is what we’re reading about here] “so it shall be at the coming of the Son of Man.”
Let me give you one last observation, and with this, we will conclude for today. It has to do with modern archeology. One of the things that you’ll discover as you work your way through the Book of Genesis is that there are actual archeological discoveries which mirror very, very closely, the kind of things that we read about in the Book of Genesis. Most people are shocked to learn this, that the story of eight in an ark that survived a global Flood, which is what we read about in the Book of Genesis, is in what we call at least 300 Flood legends all over the world. We are not the only people that have a Creation account. Other cultures—get into Enuma Elish or the Gilgamesh epic. You have Babylonian creation accounts, Babylonian Flood accounts, Akkadian creation accounts, and Akkadian Flood accounts. You read those and you say, ‘Wow, except for a few points, it sure sounds very similar to the Bible.’ With this list of long living patriarchs and the sudden termination of a Flood, that story occurs elsewhere in modern day archeology in something called the Sumerian King list.
Arnold Fruchtenbaum says, “The eleventh observation is connected with archeology. There are two kings’ lists from archeology that reflect what is happening in this chapter [Genesis 5]. The first is the Sumerian King List from Sumer ...” [which is basically the area between the rivers Euphrates and the Tigris—modern day Iraq] “… the two kings’ list in Mesopotamia, dating from about the year 2000 b.c. …” [Now, that would be roughly the time of Abraham]. “… The first is the Sumerian King List from Sumer in Mesopotamia, dating from 2000 b.c. It lists a total of ten kings, [sounds like our list] with a total of 241,200 years. That’s an average of about 24,000 years per king. [Now, their ages are a little bigger than ours in Genesis 5, but notice that in this particular list, which comes from pagan culture, there are people living—ten patriarchs living as kings to an advanced age]. Fruchtenbaum says, “…Therefore, the concept of longevity of ten generations is something reflected in the Sumerian King List. It is also interesting that after the list of the ten kings, it then adds, ‘and then the Flood came.’” [That sounds like what we’re reading about here in the Bible]. “The Flood came with the tenth [generation], just as it is in the Genesis 5 passage. [Now, the Sumerians aren’t the only ones with a king list]. He says, “…The second [King List] is the Berussos King List. Berussos was a Babylonian priest of the third century b.c., and he also lists ten kings [that come] before the Flood.”
What do you do with this kind of information? What do you do with pagan Flood accounts, pagan Creation accounts all over the world, and even a pagan ancient kings list, not from the Bible, but from pagan accounts that sound an awful lot like the stories that we’re reading about in the Bible. Here’s what the unbelievers want you to think about those pagan accounts, and this is why I’m bringing this to your attention. They want you to believe, and this is what their teachers are telling your kids and your grandkids, and when you watch A&E and Mysteries of the Bible, and television, they will promote this view. What they want you to believe is that Moses had no original thoughts. Moses as a representative of the only monotheistic nation in the Middle East, didn’t have two brain cells to rub together. He had no original thoughts, and so obviously Moses stole his ideas from these pagan accounts. After all, Moses didn’t write until at least 1500 B.C., and this King List that we’re talking about here is already on the books six centuries later. So obviously, Moses stole his material from a pagan King List. They do the same thing with the Flood. They find these pagan Flood accounts, and they say, ‘Notice that those were written earlier than the Book of Genesis.’ They find pagan creation accounts. ‘Those are written earlier than the Book of Genesis was written—about 1500 B.C., and so poor Moses just stole all his ideas and brought them into the biblical text, because after all, if these accounts existed before Moses wrote, he’s obviously plagiarizing material. So your Bible is not a special book. It’s not authentic. It doesn’t come from God.’ And that’s the only view that they’ll give.
I’m here to tell you that there’s a completely different way of thinking about this. Those pagan accounts exist because the things spoken of in the Bible actually happened, and when the Earth was repopulated through Noah’s sons, and God confounded the language at the Tower of Babel, those groups all took an element or a remembrance of truth, and they brought it into their respective cultures. Now when they brought those truths into their respective cultures, they adapted things to fit their paganism.
So the pagan Flood accounts deny monotheism. They promote polytheism, and what they say is that the gods had a council meeting, and they were upset about noise on the earth because they were trying to take a nap, and they sent the Flood. Now they still have a Flood that covered the Earth. They still have an ark. They still have eight people saved in the ark. So they kept some of the story intact, but they altered a few details because after all, ‘We’re not monotheistic, we’re polytheistic, and after all, we really don’t believe in sin. God didn’t send a Flood because of sin and wickedness and technology out of control. He sent the Flood because the gods wanted to take a nap.’ So you see what they’ve done? This is true with the Sumerian King List, the pagan Flood accounts, the pagan creation accounts; that’s my explanation of them.
All of these things exist in the world of archeology because the events of the Bible actually happened. There was a Genesis 5 list terminated by the Flood. There was a worldwide Flood. There was a Tower of Babel. There was an ancient creation account, but when they got out of the ark, and the world was repopulated through Noah’s three sons, and God confounded the language of the Tower of Babel, not all of the people were believers, but they knew enough of history to take the biblical account passed down to them through oral tradition into their cultures, and they just started to rewrite the details.
So when God had Moses pin these words in 1500 B.C., what Moses is saying is that all of these pagan renditions are wrong. I mean, they’re accurate at points, but they’ve been paganized. ‘Let me tell you what actually happened.’ Moses retells the story; he republishes the story; he refocuses the story through God’s vantage point and not paganism.
So you see what I’ve done there? I’ve explained the similarities between the Bible and these pagan accounts without rushing to the conclusion that Moses stole his ideas. What they all want you to believe is that Moses stole his ideas, and I’m saying that there’s a completely alternative way of thinking about this. It’s actually called the Common Source Theory: these things actually happened, but the pagans kept part of the story in place and paganized other parts of it. Doesn’t Romans 1:18-32 tell us very clearly that that’s what pagans do? They suppress the truth of God. ‘So let’s take the exact same story and let’s just change a few things around. Sin out, monotheism out. Flood, we’ll keep that; ark, we’ll keep that. Eight survivors in the ark, we’ll keep that.’ Then you turn on the History Channel, and you’ve got some guy from Harvard telling you that Moses stole all his ideas, and they won’t let anybody else on to give a countervailing explanation. You’re sitting in churches where all they give you is three points in a poem every week, so the pastor is not equipping anybody, so the kids and the grandkids are swept into unbelief. Yet my job as a pastor is to equip you so you can share your faith with others, and particularly, rescue your children and grandchildren from unbelief by just telling them, ‘There’s a completely different way of thinking about that. It’s the Common Source Theory.’
And I’ll say more about this as we continue on in our study in the Book of Genesis. Look at this. We’ve gone all the way through that list, and we finished a whole category. [See slide on Genesis Structure] Can you believe it? We’re no longer talking about Creation, Genesis 1,2. We’re no longer talking about the Fall, Genesis 3-5. What are we getting into beginning next week? If the Lord tarries, by the way, the Flood, the third major event in Genesis 1-11. Genesis 6: events before the Flood. Genesis 7: the Flood itself. Genesis 8,9: post-Flood events.
I know you’re probably not as excited about it as I am, but I’m excited about it. Amen. And what is all of this about? It’s all about maintaining a genealogy leading to Jesus, who, through His death, burial, resurrection and ascension, stepped into history and lived a life in my place that I could never live. Cain could never live it, Noah could never live it, but Jesus lived it. If that weren’t enough, He stepped out of eternity into time to absorb in His body, my violations of failing to live a perfect life. And if that weren’t enough, He rose bodily from the grave to vindicate who He claimed to be.
And that, in essence, is what we call the gospel—where Jesus did it all as our substitute. His final words on the cross were, “It is finished.” He leaves humanity with just a very simple message—this is what we call the gospel or good news. He says ‘Trust,’ which is another way of saying faith. ‘Trust in what I have done for you. Don’t trust in your works, don’t trust in your religiosity, don’t trust in your best efforts. Trust in Me because I’ve done the work in your place.’ The moment a lost sinner trusts in the transaction of Jesus Christ is the moment they’re made right with God.
That’s the gospel and why we conclude our services by exhorting everyone within the sound of my voice, even people listening online or people listening via archive long after the fact, to fulfill the single condition that’s required for a loss sinner to be saved, which is faith alone in Christ alone. We exhort you, we implore you to do that right now, as I’m speaking, if you’ve never done it. It’s not something you have to raise a hand to do, join a church to do, walk an aisle to do, give money to do. It’s a matter of privacy between you and the Lord, where the Holy Spirit places the lost sinner under conviction; He convicts them of their need to trust in the Savior. You respond to that good news by trusting in Christ, and you fulfill the single condition necessary to be justified before a holy God. We exhort you to do that right now, even as I speak, and if it’s something you need more explanation on, I’m available after the service to talk.
Shall we pray? Father we are grateful for these historical events and how they pave the way towards the person of Your Son, which is really what human history revolves around. Help us as we try to keep these things in focus and in context this week. We’ll be careful to give you all the praise and the glory. We ask these things in Jesus’ name, and God’s people said. AMEN!