Genesis 5: Only God Can Prevent Death
The genealogy from Adam to Noah presents an almost hopeless case of the power of death. But there is a window of hope in Enoch.
Reader Thoughts and Questions
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This chapter gives the genealogy of Adam. His descendants are a mixed bag, but even the best of them cannot undo what was done in the fall. Without the miracle of the incarnation, sinners beget sinners. The result of this is that men die. Eight times we read “and he died.” Yet, the promised Messiah will overcome this trend.
The chapter takes us from Adam to Noah. Noah would not have met Adam or Seth, but he could have met many people that knew Adam, including his father.
No doubt one of the first questions you boys and girls might ask is how come they lived so long? Different reasons can be given. First, they were less affected by the fall. Second, to more quickly bring to pass God’s intention to fill the earth. Third, to help man acquire greater skills and knowledge so that it can be passed on to future generations.
v.3 - we see the contrast between v1. Adam was made in the likeness of God. Seth was made in the likeness the likeness of his fallen father. This does not contradict the truth that all men are made in the image of God (James 3:9), but it highlights a problem.
v. 4–20 - the details of the descendants of Seth appear to be passed over quickly. But contrast it with Cain’s descendants in 4:18, in which the length of their lives is not recorded. Why? Because their lives did not count at all for God. The young man who lives for God from 15 years of age and dies at 25, has done more that is worth recording than the man that lives for 100 years with no thought of God.
v. 21–24 - the above fact is highlighted by the relatively brief life of Enoch who “walked with God.” Enoch typifies Christ:
— He typifies the righteousness of Christ (he walked with God in a fallen world).
— He typifies the resurrection of Christ (he circumvented death).
— He typifies the ascension of Christ (God took him).
Enoch’s son is ‘Methuselah’ = a compound word of ‘death’ and ‘send’ and communicates as, ‘he dies it shall be sent.’ When you calculate Methuselah’s life, you discover he died in the same year that the flood came. God is revealing truth to Enoch about what is coming, which is why he has a ministry warning of judgment (according to Jude).
v. 29 - Noah means rest or comfort. The struggle of living in this world is taking its toll, and Lamech receives from God some indication that through Noah God would give rest from the curse.
This passage is a reminder that death results from the fall and is unavoidable. Children, you need to know that you will die. Adults, your time is brief. It is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment.
The chapter underlines federal headship. We can’t escape the headship of Adam and the consequences of his sin. “In Adam all die.” This shows our need of Christ, who walked with God for us so that we can circumvent divine judgment upon our sin and enter heaven. It is only “in Christ” that we are made alive.
Enoch was warned that God was going to destroy the world, and that changed how he lived. God is going to destroy the world again some day, and it should shape our lives.
Our labors may be great and our fruit relatively small. Enoch’s warnings may have spared some who died before the flood came, but when the flood descends, it’s only his great-grandson Noah and his family.
v. 29 - In Noah’s time, God planned to judge the world and give a fresh start to the world. In this way, while everything the ungodly built would be destroyed, the work of the godly line would continue through Noah. But whatever comfort Noah was able to communicate, would find its real fulfillment in that he leads to Christ. It is Christ Himself and His Word that is the genuine comfort of men. Make sure you live and speak of Him to comfort the hearts of sinners.