“The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.”[Deuteronomy 29:29]
Biblical genealogies are almost certainly among the most difficult passages in Scripture. Not only are most genealogies downright monotonous, but also the Biblical names themselves can be torturous for even the most avid Bible student.
Take Genesis 5 for example, which traces ancestral descent from Adam to Noah. On the surface, there is nothing spectacular to see. Some might give Enoch a little special attention, considering his unusual disappearing act, but overall Genesis 5 simply provides a family tree.
Now genealogies in general are important, especially when tracing the lineage of the Messiah. The Genesis 5 genealogy, therefore, has theological value in its own right, if only as an historical record of mankind before the flood. But when we take a little closer look at the names in Genesis 5 and their root meanings, something amazing happens.
God — in His divine wisdom and perfect knowledge — has planted a hidden message of hope within one of the most mundane passages of Scripture.
Proper names are rarely translated from Hebrew to English, but rather transliterated. The meaning of these Hebrew names in Genesis 5, therefore must be determined by referring to their basic root word. Although not an exact science, what you are about to see is at the very least worth consideration.
When we take the names and their meaning in order from Genesis 5, a message begins to emerge that can only be explained by an omniscient God who inserted an integrated message system within the Hebrew text to announce the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I do not take credit for this discovery and have obtained much of my information from the late Chuck Missler and his ministry at Koinonia House.
The first name, Adam, comes from adomah, and means “man.”
Adam’s son was named Seth, which means “appointed”. When he was born Eve said, “For God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.” [Genesis 4:25]
Seth’s son was called Enosh, which means “mortal,” “frail,” or “miserable.” It is from the root anash: “to be incurable”; used of a wound, grief, woe, sickness, or wickedness.
Enosh’s son was named Kenan, from which is derived the terms “sorrow,” dirge,” or “elegy.”
Kenan’s son was Mahalalel, from mahalal, which means “blessed” or “praise”; and El, the name for God. Thus, Mahalalel means “the Blessed God.” Often Hebrew names included El, the name of God, as Dani-el, “God is my Judge,” Nathani-el, “Gift of God,” etc.
Mahalalel’s son was named Jared, from the verb yaradh, meaning “shall come down.” Some authorities suggest that this might have been an allusion to the “Sons of God” who “came down” to corrupt the daughters of men, resulting in the Nephilim (“Fallen Ones”) of Genesis 6.
Jared’s son was named Enoch, which means “teaching,” or “commencement.” He was the first of four generations of preachers. In fact, the earliest recorded prophecy was by Enoch, which amazingly enough deals with the Second Coming of Christ.
The Flood of Noah did not come as a surprise. It had been preached on for four generations. But something strange happened when Enoch was 65, from which time “he walked with God.” Enoch was given a prophecy that as long as his son was alive, the judgment of the flood would be withheld; but as soon as he died, the flood would be sent forth.
Enoch named his son to reflect this prophecy. The name Methuselah comes from two roots: muth, a root that means “death” ; and from shalach, which means “to bring,” or “to send forth.” Thus, the name Methuselah signifies, “his death shall bring.”
And, indeed, in the year that Methuselah died, the flood came. Methuselah was 187 when he had Lamech, and lived 782 years more. Lamech had Noah when he was 182.
The Flood came in Noah’s 600th year. 187 + 182 + 600 = 969, Methuselah’s age when he died
Methuselah’s son was named Lamech, a root still evident today in our own English word, “lament” or “lamentation.” Lamech suggests “despairing.”
Lamech, of course, is the father of Noah, which is derived from nacham , “to bring relief” or “comfort,” as Lamech himself explains in Genesis 5:29.
Now when we put these meanings together in order, we get an amazing message.
|Mahalalel||The Blessed God|
|Jared||Shall come down|
|Methuselah||His death shall bring|
|Noah||Rest, or comfort.|
So now let’s add a few definite articles and conjunctions and we will see the gospel of Jesus Christ contained in this genealogy.
MaN is Appointed Mortal Sorrow, but the Blessed God Shall Come Down Teaching. His Death Shall Bring the Despairing Rest.
From beginning to end the good news of the gospel has never changed. God will provide a Substitute — a Savior for sinful man — and all who trust in Jesus will be saved and will find eternal rest.