Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, June 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
StudyLight.org has pledged to help build churches in Uganda. Help us with that pledge and support pastors in the heart of Africa.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries
Genesis 5

Carroll's Interpretation of the English BibleCarroll's Biblical Interpretation

Verses 1-32



Genesis 5

In the fourth chapter of Genesis we have seen the race of Adam following two distinct lines of worship through Cain and Abel, Abel approaching God where he dwelt as a Shekinah and oracle between the Cherubim, at the east of the garden of Eden, under a grace covenant and through a vicarious expiation apprehended by faith; Cain approaching God at the same place, but ignoring the double fact that he was depraved in nature by descent from the fallen Adam and a sinner by choice and deed; therefore rejecting the vicarious expiation prescribed by grace and tendering only a thank: offering as a land tenant.

Cain thus denying sin denies the need of a Saviour. And denying depravity denies the need of regeneration. And turning from the Holy Spirit remains a subject of the evil spirit. And denying the authority of God in religion he remains under the authority of the devil, the prince of this world by usurpation. "Cain was of the wicked one." The New Testament calls the devil religion "the way of Cain." And it must mightily amuse the devil to hear a president emeritus of Harvard, nearly six thousand years later, call "the way of Cain" a "new religion."

We have seen the anger and hate of the subject of the devil religion toward the subject of the God religion culminate in murder, lying, and denial of social responsibility. We have seen him, under the curse of God, go away from the presence of God and while under spiritual unrest he and his descendants build cities or become nomads, invent stringed and wind instruments of music, establish factories for cutting implements of brass and iron, and in literature attain a low form of poetry, yet they also develop bigamy, seduction, and lawless slaying of the seducer.

Having thus traced the godless line of Cain to the seventh generation the chapter closes with an account of the birth of Seth, the appointed successor of Abel, and with the statement that this line resumed the worship of Jehovah interrupted by the death of Abel. So the section of Genesis, commencing Genesis 2:4, "These are the generations [or developments] of the heavens and the earth," leaves the world under two opposing lines of worship, God worship and devil worship, contending for earth supremacy, the kingdom of God warring against the kingdom of Satan.

The fifth chapter opens a new section: "This is the book of the generations of Adam." The unique phraseology, "This is the book of the generations," occurs here only in the Old Testament and only once in the New Testament (Matthew 1:1). It is designedly limited to the two Adams – the natural man and the Lord from heaven.

One cannot escape deep conviction of the unity of the Bible when he compares Genesis 5:1, with Matthew 1:1. Place them side by side thus:

"This is the book of the generations of Adam."

"This is the book of the generations of Jesus Christ." With this parallel before you, read Romans 5:12-21.

The next two sentences of this section constitute another amazing parallel. Put them also side by side, thus:

"In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him."

"And Adam begat a son in his likeness, after his image."

This parallel is far from meaning that Adam perpetuated, in his son, Seth, the likeness and image of God which he himself had received in creation (Genesis 1:26). By sin Adam lost the image of God and became corrupt in his nature. This is evident by what regeneration and sanctification must accomplish in a son of Adam. "Ye have put off the old man with his doings, and have put on the new man, that is being renewed unto knowledge after the image of him that created him" (Colossians 3:9-10). "Put ye away, as concerning your former manner of life, the old man, that waxeth corrupt after the lusts of deceit; and be ye renewed in the spirit of your mind, and put on the new man, that after God hath been created in righteousness and holiness of truth" (Ephesians 5:22-24).

This fallen father could not transmit what he had loaf. Seth was born in the image of a corrupt father. The first Adam, by creation, was in the image of God. The Second Adam, by eternal subsistence, was the effulgence of God’s glory and the very image of his substance (Hebrews 1:3). Hence Paul says, "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul. The last man Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man Is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. And as is the earthy, such ore they also that are earthy; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly" (1 Corinthians 15:45-49).

Another important matter to note is that the generations of Adam in this section are limited to the line of Seth. This is because all descendants of Cain perished in the deluge. While millions on earth today follow in "the way of Cain" no man on earth is lineally descended from Cain. The population of the whole earth today are lineal descendants of Seth and consist of two classes only: (1) the regenerate, spiritual descendants of the Second Adam, and (2) the unregenerate descendants in flesh and spirit of the first Adam.

According to the invariable method of Genesis the generations of the evil line are first given, as in the fourth chapter, and then the generations of the good line, as in this chapter. The line of generation in this chapter is Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mehalaleel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah.

We get at the age of the human race when the flood came by adding to the age of Adam when Seth was born the age of each father named when his son was born and then adding the age of Noah when the flood came. The figures are: 130 plus 105, plus 90, plus 70, plus 65, plus 162, plus 65, plus 187, plus 182, plus 600; total 1656 – more than 161/2 centuries. Another remarkable fact is the longevity of the antediluvians. Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Jared, and Methuselah all lived over 900 years. By the overlapping we see how Methuselah was a contemporary of both Adam and Noahù243 years with Adam and 600 years with Noah. Indeed Adam lived 56 years as a contemporary of Lamech) the father of Noah, and only 126 years intervened between Adam’s death and Noah’s birth. In this way all the revelations of God to man up to the flood required for transmission, by tradition, only one intermediary between Adam and Noah.

On this remarkable longevity Dr. Gonant says, "The great age of man previous to the Flood, gradually diminishing for some generations after, till it reached its present usual limit, has been the subject of much discussion. Some have attempted to account for the change in the duration of human life by physical causes, namely, changes in the physical temperament of our world, in modes of living, etc. Others have maintained, that the age of man did not then greatly exceed that to which men are known to have attained in later times; some supposing that each name represents several generations; others, that the ’year’ was not a solar year as subsequently, but some equally defined period, as a lunar month, or a period of six months between the solstices or equinoxes, or a season of three months marked by the passage of the sun between the equinoctial and solstitial points, or (according to the ancient division of the year into spring, summer and winter) a season of four months.

"But this assumed meaning of the word year, making it a twelfth, or a half, or a third, or a fourth of the solar year, has no historical support; there being no evidence that such portions of time were ever made the unit of measure for long periods, such as the duration of human life, or were ever used for any other purpose than as fractions of the solar year. "It fails, moreover, in its application. For though it might explain the cases occurring in this chapter, it fails when applied to Genesis 11:10 f, where some are mentioned as having sons at the age of thirty, and as living to the age of four or five hundred years.

"The term of life in man, as in all other animals, is God’s ordinance. The progress of a human being from infancy, through childhood, youth and manhood, to old age, is a law of his constitution ordained by his Maker; and the length of time assigned for each, together with the secondary causes on which it depends, is also his appointment. Our belief that it was ever otherwise than at present, depends on our confidence in the record which asserts it. It is not an unphilosophical supposition, that man was originally so constituted, that his term of life should go on diminishing till it reached its minimum, and there remain stationary."

It may be accounted for in a simpler way. The fruit of the tree of life was designed to eliminate the mortality of the body. Adam and Eve partook of this fruit in the garden. It is quite possible that many centuries would elapse before the effects of this eating would be altogether eliminated from the bodies of Adam’s descendants. The last four names of the list, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, and Noah, call for special comment.

Concerning Enoch we note four things:

1. He walked with God.

2. The occasion of his commencing to walk with God, the birth of his son.

3. His remarkable prophecy (Judges 1:14-15).

4. The manner of his exit from the world.

As a comment on three of these four particulars I here attach a sermon, preached by the author, January, 1894.

"’And Enoch walked with God; and he was not; for God took him’ (Genesis 5:24). I think it quite probable that to supply the ellipsis this should read: ’and he was not found; for God took him.’ To show the reasonableness of thus supplying the ellipsis we have only to read the collateral passage describing the translation of Elijah in 2 Kings 2:5-18. Now applying that narrative, I will read over again: ’And Enoch walked with God; and he was not [i.e., he was not found]; for God took him to himself.’

"The subject which I have selected tonight is one to me of very great interest. ’Walking* in the sense used in this text never applies to doctrine; it applies to conduct, to life; as when it is said of Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, that he and his wife, Elisabeth, walked in the commandments of God. In both the Old and New Testaments, the word has that signification. For instance, when God said to Solomon, If you will walk in my ways as thy father David didst walk in my ways,’ evidently referring o the life, to the conduct. Before one’s life can be such as is e-pressed by this text, there is something implied; something presupposed. The prophet Amos asks a question in the third chapter and third verse of the book attributed to him: ’How can two walk together except they be agreed?’ So that if it be affirmed that two walked together, it is implied that the two are at agreement. And it also follows from the nature of the case that one of the two had been at enmity with the other and that there had been a reconciliation. So that when we say of any man that he walks with God, it implies that he has been reconciled to God. It does not mean that God has conformed to him, but that he has conformed to God. It does not mean that the Lord has lowered his standard to suit the man, but that the man’s way has been subordinated to God’s way, and his life to God’s rules. It never implies any kind of change on the part of God, but always on the part of man. So when it is affirmed of Enoch that he walked with God, it implies that there had been a time when Enoch and God had not been at agreement, but that something had occurred to put them at agreement, and that after this agreement they had then walked together. This brings up the question: ’Does the Bible show anywhere when this agreement took place between God and Enoch?’ I think so. A careful study of the passage shows that Enoch commenced to walk with God when he was sixty-five years old. It is affirmed that he lived 365 years, and it is affirmed that 300 years he walked with God. Then he commenced to walk with God when he was sixty-five years old. The mind becomes a little curious to know what it was that brought about this agreement between God and Enoch; what occasion brought the two together. I think the Bible tells us what the occasion was. It evidently connects the subject with the birth of Enoch’s son, the birth of his baby boy. Up to the time that Methuselah was born Enoch did not walk with God, but a child is born unto him, and from the day that child is born as long as he lived upon the earth, he walked with God. So we find the occasion in the birth of this boy – the first-born child. I do not know why it is so – one may speculate a great deal upon it – but the fact will not be questioned that with children there comes a change in this world to the parents. There is something in paternity and maternity that casts a different atmosphere about all the things of this life; the medium of vision is entirely different. The coloring is all changed. A boy has his ambitious dreams, his selfish thoughts of distinction, his ideas of success to which everything must bend, and it is an astonishing thing to him, the cast of mind evidently manifested by his father and his mother. He cannot understand it. But after a while he grows up himself and marries, and still after he marries it is a good deal like the prolongation of youth. But a child comes to that family and with the first wail of that voice, with the first uplifting of the eyes of that new-born soul, there has come a radical and fundamental change in that house. Life will never be the same again. The world will never appear to be the same any more. Here has come a responsibility that could not even be conceived of before. Here has come a joy that without the experience of it, the heart could not even take hold of it. The objects of life are instantly changed. With his first-born child instantly the whole course of the father’s life is changed. He Bays, ’I stand by myself and for myself no more. I am not now living for myself. I must live for this child. I must live so that this pledge of God’s affection, this being which is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh, shall be properly reared; shall take his proper place in the world.’ So much in general.

"But you ask me why I ever fell upon the thought that this change in Enoch’s attitude toward God was brought about by the birth of this child? I do not know all that occurred. I cannot conceive of it even. It is conjectural; but I gather that something occurred in this communion with God at this point, and that, too, by a revelation, a revelation that made the birth of that child the most important thing to him in his life. And what was it? With the coming of that child was the announcement from heaven: ’Do you see that baby? The world will last as long as he lives, and no longer. When that child dies the judgment of God is coming upon the earth. The windows of heaven are going to be opened. The fountains of the great deep are going to be broken up. That chaos will return, as described in the second verse of the first chapter of Genesis, when the earth was first made; it was empty and void, a waste of water. In the process of his divine work God separated the waters below from the waters above. The expanse of the heaven was spread out. There was a separation of the waters above and below. Then a separation of the waters below, the dry land from the water. Now God says, ’When that child dies, I will restore the world to its chaotic state as it was before the expanse was created that separates the waters above and below. I will open the windows of heaven. That is, I will remove the expanse. I will put my finger upon the law which keeps the waters above in the clouds and restore it to what it was. And if I do that, the waters that are up yonder will come down. And then I will take this earth that is now dry land and sea, and will break up the foundations of the great deep, so that it shall be water, and water only, again.’ That, probably, is what he said to this father. You ask me why I suppose this, since the record is silent. To me, the record does not seem to be altogether silent. The record itself, and that alone, suggests the thought. Consider the name given to the child – Methuselah. That name signifies that with his departure comes this flood. In all probability a divine revelation is memorialized in the name. Now then, let us look for a moment upon the methods by which such a great revelation of God operated upon the mind of Enoch to bring about a radical change in him. It makes no difference how careless you are tonight about religious matters; it makes no difference how absorbed you may be in the things of this world, you may realize the cause of the change in Enoch. Suppose that it should be made known to you, and is a way that you could not question the veracity of God, that this world would last only as long as the life of some little child in your house. Maybe there is a little girl at your house. What if it should be creditably conveyed to you that this world would last just as long as that little girl would live, and no longer. Perhaps you have a little boy at your house, and the message comes to you, ’That child’s life is the life of the world. When that child dies the world will come to an end.’ Now, as you could have no knowledge of how long or how short that life might be, there would instantly come before you the possibility of the cessation of the existence of the earth at any time. It might be next week; it might be next year; but always staring you in the face, every time you look upon the baby, or upon the boy, upon the girl running around; every time you look; every time that child is a little sick; every time fever comes or a slight chill, or any eruption on the skin, or any apparent decline in health it would seem to you as the shadow of the doom of the world. That being so, if you believed it; if it had been made credible to you, you would begin to say within yourself, If this is the last of it; if the world can last only as long as this child lives; how ought I to live?’ Now to show you how naturally and rationally that thought would come into your mind, let me read to you again the passage of Scripture which prefaced this sermon, the use of which you did not then probably anticipate. Peter says, In the last days there shall come scoffers walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of his coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation. But the Lord is not slack concerning his promise as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hastening unto the day of the coming of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?’ You seethe practical effect of faith in that scripture; that if men believe that the day of God is near at hand, the time of judgment, the hour when we are to stand before him and answer for the deeds done in the body, and how things that engage our attention here and absorb our minds and call out our energies, that these things are evanescent; that not only is ’passing away’ written upon them, but the day of their departure is fixed already in the mind of God. I say, with this conviction in the heart, that there is to be such a speedy termination of this world’s existence, as a natural, indeed, an inevitable consequence, there is forced upon the man’s mind that believes, this thought: ’What ought my life to be?’ It is furthermore manifest from the fact that all men whose lives are and continue to be irreligious, are the men who by some method have closed their eyes to the thought of a day of trial, of a windup of the affairs of this world. The judgment of God and the speed with which it is coming have become inoperative in wholesome effects upon their minds, from the fact that they do not believe. The conviction does not seize upon them. But our text supposes that this conviction did seize upon the mind of Enoch; that it seized upon him in such a manner that he named his child in reference to it, and from the birth of that child until he passed away he walked with God. He walked with him as a familiar friend and lived with reference to a speedy responsibility. A careful study of this passage shows that from the birth of that child the attractiveness of this world had lost all its power over the mind and heart of Enoch. The things which men covet most; the honors which they esteem to be the highest, and the glories that are the most entrancing to their views, were in his esteem, after this revelation from God – after this conviction took possession of his heart – as if they did not exist. The two were no longer polarized. I mean that there was no conductor of influence. They did not come in touch. The earth magnet no longer up high enough to look over it and see how near was the end moved Enoch. He had seen an end of it. God had taken him of all earthly things. Seeing that and knowing how little worth there was in it, he then began to say, ’As I find within myself the stirrings of immortality, as I am conscious of a deathless spirit; as I feel myself related to eternity; therefore, as this world is to pass away so speedily upon which I have my temporary home, what should be my preparation for the other world to which I hasten, and how shall I so live that when I pass from this world I may go to one whose skies are never flecked with clouds, and whose stability is such that neither floods nor fires shall interrupt the continuity of their being?’ It was in this way probably that his mind acted. As a proof of it – and it is one of the most notable things in history, account for it as you like – whenever and wherever in any age of the world any number of persons have become possessed with a conviction of the sublunary nature of things here and of the speedy approach of dissolution; of the nearness of their contact with the hitherto invisible things of eternity; that as that conviction at any period of the world has touched one man, or two, or a thousand; to the extent of the touch, to that extent you find revivals in religion; you find men realizing in their hearts that they want something more than this world; that they want something more enduring than it can offer; they want something to satisfy the cravings of the aroused and immortal spirit; they are no longer willing simply to live and toil for bread and clothing, but rather that the spirit may be fed, and that the spirit may be clothed and made happy forever.

"Another thought: This man having had such a revelation of the speedy dissolution of the world in which he lived, what must, I ask you, have been the workings of his mind as he studied the health of that child? Looking back, the oldest man living was not yet dead. Adam was yet alive. He was over 700 years old. Some men had died. Some had died early. Some had not lived to be 100. And after a while Adam died, and here was the limit of his life. And Enoch would look at him and say, ’What are the probabilities concerning this child of mine, Methuselah?’ 18 it not a curious and suggestive thing that the man whose life was to terminate with the world itself was permitted to live longer than anybody else ever did live? Is it not an exhibition of God’s mercy? As this is the child who is to live until the time comes for the world to be swept away by a flood, and as during this interval the word of God is to be preached to lead men to salvation, shall not the mercy of God prolong that day? Shall he not live longer than any man ever did live? Shall he not live longer than any other man will live? Shall not his age be unique, standing out from the age of any other, because that from the hour of his birth the decree had gone forth, ’When the breath leaves his body the throes of dissolution shall commence. When he departs the clouds gather and the earth sickens and the seas are uprooted in their foundations. Let him live and live and live, that space may be given for men to repent’? But long before this man died, whose life was to be co-equal with the world’s existence, the one to whom the announcement was made had left the earth; and there is something about that worth consideration. He was a notable character. In all the mythologies of the heathen nations they have preserved some kind of a tradition with regard to him. The most of these traditions, of course, are far-fetched. But it shows that the impress of this strange man was never effaced from the world. To him has been attributed the first acquaintance with astronomy. To this man have been given the name and fame of originating a written language. With all of which traditions I have nothing to do and care but little about. I merely introduce these thoughts to show that he impressed his age and subsequent ages, and that he so lived while here upon the earth that he caused men to think about him and talk about him, and conjecture about him thousands of years after he had passed away. (This sermon continued in next chapter.)

1. In a brief statement give a review of chapter 4.

2. What parallel between Genesis 5:1, and Matthew 1:1, and the bearing on the unity of the whole Bible?

3. What amazing parallel in 5:1-3, the meaning of "begat a son in his own likeness, after his image," Genesis 5:3, and what doctrines involved when compared with Genesis 1:26?

4. What are the two classes of earth’s population today?

5. How long from Adam to the flood and how ascertained?

6. Do you accept the extraordinary longevity as historically true?

7. What purpose was served by the long life of the early Christians?

8. Can you cite any case of long life among the Cainites, or among unbelievers after the flood? If not, why this distinction?

9. How does Dr. Conant account for this longevity?

10. How does the author account for it?

11. Who was the last recorded example of extraordinary longevity and why was it not necessary after that?

12. What man was for a long time a contemporary of both Adam and Noah?

13. Which man, before the flood, never died?

14. Meaning of "walked with God"?

15. What is presupposed by it?

16. How old was he when be began to walk with God and what event caused it?

17. Generally, what is the effect of paternity and maternity on people?

18. What revelation does the author think Enoch received at the birth of Methuselah and upon what does he base his conviction?

19. How would such a revelation naturally affect Enoch’s life?

20. What New Testament parallel serves as an admonition to every passing generation?

21. What curious and suggestive thing in the fact that Methuselah lived longer than any one else in the world?

22. What shows Enoch’s impress upon the world?



Genesis 5 (Continued)

"Enoch’s taking off was the marvellous thing, inasmuch as so much attention had been attracted to him. Let us imagine ourselves living in that time when people would commence to say: ’Where is Enoch? Has anybody seen Enoch to-day?’ And inquiries are made at his home: ’Where is your father?’ I do not know.’ Perhaps you ask the wife: ’Where is your husband?’ I do not know; he is gone.’ ’Where is Enoch?’ And a search is installed. The places he frequented are all carefully searched, and at last, as the investigators return, the question is passed back and forth: ’Where is he?’ And he was not found. When had any one ever gone so before? Never. Here was a mysterious disappearance. Here was something that fixed the attention of that age more than a thunderclap ten thousand times louder than an ordinary peal – the disappearance of Enoch. Did he die? No. Was he sick? No. Well, when other people died we buried them. Here are their graves. We cannot bury him, for we cannot find him. Where is his body? What has become of his body? And how that thought would flash upon the people. He cannot be found. Up to a certain time the observers saw him. One would say: I saw him here last week.’ Another, ’I saw him there the day after, but where is he now?’ Was it witchcraft? Compare the scenes recorded in the second book of Kings, where fifty sons of the prophets unto whom God had made the revelation that Elijah would be called up away from the earth without dying, determined to witness his departure, and they watched Elijah and Elisha. And they say to Elisha: ’Do you know that today Elijah is going to be taken away from you?’ ’Yes, I know it.’ And those two walk off together. And Elijah says to Elisha, ’You stop here.’ And they go to another place: ’Then, stop here.’ I will not stop; as my soul liveth, I am going to hold on to you. I want to know how you go. There is the record of a man’s disappearance once before, and where he went and how he went no one can tell. This time I will see.’ And Elijah says to him, ’What would you ask of me?’ ’Give me thy spirit. Let the double of thy spirit, the equivalent of it, let that come upon me. That is, when you leave, let an equal power of the spirit now on you be upon me that the world shall not be deprived of the like of your example.’ Ah, if someone had but thought of that in Enoch’s time! If someone had clung to him and said, ’As I live and as the Lord liveth, I will cling to you and follow you and when you leave let an equivalent of your spirit be given unto me.’ Nobody thought of it. But now, mark you, Elijah said, If you can see me when I go, then you shall have the equivalent of the spiritual power that is on me.’ That test is not an arbitrary one; it is required by the nature of the case, that no man could have the spirit or the power that rested on Elijah unless his faith was so sublimated and etherealized that he could look through the grossness of earth and see the outshining of heaven and a higher and purer spiritual life. Hence, he says, If you can see me, it will be so.’ And Elisha saw him, and as he went up he shouted: ’My Father! My Father! The chariot of God and the horsemen thereof!’ And he picked up the prophet’s falling mantle and smote with it the waters of the Jordan as Elijah had done, and called upon the name of the God of Elijah to see if the spirit rested upon him that had rested upon his master, and the waters were divided. The disappearance in this case was located. Here was one witness; he saw it. These were adumbrations – they were shadows ahead. They point to what will take place when Jesus comes. What is it? Paul says: ’Brethren, I will show you a mystery. We shall not all die. There will be a large number of them living when Jesus comes, and all the Christians living when he comes shall be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump. There shall occur a spiritual sanctification. There shall occur a bodily glorification. Mortality shall put on immortality without passing through the throes of death, and corruption shall put on incorruption without decay or dissolution, without being led down in the loathsome charnel house.’ Many – perhaps thousands and tens of thousands, will be alive when Jesus comes. In the twinkling of an eye they shall be translated and glorified and caught up to heaven, soul and body. Paul says that Enoch was not, i.e., not found, for God translated him. This is an old Latin word, an irregular verb, and it simply means carried over or carried across. God carried him across. Across what? Across death. Death is the river that divides this world from the world to come, and here was a man that never did go through the river at all. When he got there God carried him across. God transferred him; translated him; God picked him up and carried him over and put him on the other shore. And walking along here in time and communing with God by faith, in an instant he was communing with God by sight in another world. Faith, oh, precious faith! .Faith had turned to sight, and hope had turned to fruition in a single moment. Enoch was translated. God took him. And it made an impression on that day, on this day, and on every day. There are only two instances.

"Now I want to make an application of this subject. What, under the circumstances, detailed in the life of Enoch and under the circumstances of the statements made by the apostle Peter, are the things that keep people from soberly reflecting? What are the things that stand in the way of preparation? What are the things which, if removed, thousands would be convicted in an instant? It is unbelief with reference to spiritual things; with reference to the coming of the Son of God; with reference to the fact that the world in which we live is the threshold only of the grand building of the world to come. Now, when you sit down by one of your acquaintances and try to engage him in serious conversation, what obstacles do you encounter? The power of this world, the pride of life, the lust of the flesh. The whole vision is filled. And you try to edge in or wedge in a word about personal responsibility to God. ’Oh, there will be no judgment; things are moving on today like they did last year, a hundred years ago. They will move on that way another thousand years.’ Will they move that way to you a thousand years? Will it last fifty for you? Are you right sure that it will last twenty-five for you? Even if the world should last another thousand years, what is that to the individual? You will not last that long. Your death fifty years hence will be a more momentous thing than God’s announcement to Enoch, that ’when this child dies the end will come,’ because that child lived 969 years. With all that tremendous effect on the mind of Enoch, it was nearly a thousand years off. But is yours that far off? Is it not nearer to each one of us here than it was to him? Is it not many hundreds of years nearer to any of us than it was to him? Now why cannot we be induced) as he was induced, to think about walking with God? Seeing that these things are to be dissolved, so far as we are concerned, in a very short time, what manner of persons ought we to be? What if you die within one year? What if your friends come and ask about you and say, ’Where is he? Can anybody tell me where he is gone?’ He is gone from the world, never to come back. ’Gone where; where and to what?’ Oh, if I could by the Spirit’s power bring down upon your hearts tonight some conviction resulting from the manifest brevity of your life! It is not only short, but its thread is brittle, and may snap in a moment. Shall not Enoch’s case profit you at all? Fix your mind on it. He looks out 969 years into the future, and sees the end of the world. He stands and looks at it – 969 years off, but it is the end of the world. How does it affect him? How does he apply the knowledge? ‘Henceforward I will walk with God.’ Now here you are: how far is it to the world’s end with you? How much do you say? None of you will say a hundred years; perhaps fifty; perhaps twenty-five; perhaps ten; perhaps one. Maybe only a month. Why, then, can’t you feel it like he felt it? Why does not the conviction come to you like it came to him? It is because the. God of this world hath blinded the eyes of them who believe , not. He has put a bandage, impenetrable and inscrutable, upon the eyes of the people that they cannot see the nearness and the certainty of the approach of death and of being ushered out of the world for ever and into another world for ever. Now, that is why I took this subject tonight, January, 1894. In all human probability one-fifth of us here in this house tonight will never see 1900. That is only six years off. Some of you will certainly never see that. Oh, believe it! The crape will be hanging on some of your door knobs before 1895. Some homes now happy will be desolate before summer comes. There will be empty cradles and vacant chairs. I speak of probabilities, judging from what is occurring all along. And yet, how strange! We carelessly move along and say, ’Where is the promise of his coming?’ No preparation to meet God; no living with reference to eternity! God help you tonight to see that and feel that. Is it wrong? Is it contrary to what you think is best? Is it expedient, feeling about this as I do feel about it, do you think it would be best for me to stop right here and make no effort to lead some soul here now to the thought of preparation for God? Who can tell? It may be that God, in his infinite mercy, has made this night the occasion of the turning point of salvation to some immortal spirit, as he made the birth of that child the turning point in the life of Enoch. Some of your have children. Their responsibility is on you. They catch their cue from you. They walk the way you walk. They imbibe your spirit; your shadow is on your boy, on your girl, on your home. Oh, father, mother, when you think of your child, had you not better prepare to meet your God? What is life to young people? What know they of its anguish; what of its responsibilities? They hear the song of the siren; their eye is dimmed with the glare of earth’s tinsel; they are swept away on the tidal wave of youth’s buoyant feeling. But, oh, grown men and women, fathers and mothers, to whom God has committed children, how can you put your hand upon the face of a sleeping child one night and not prepare to meet God? Sometimes, even in the thoughtlessness of youth, through a rift in the clouds, the divine benediction falls like a halo of light, and some little Samuel hears the voice of God, and says, ’Lord, here am I.’ Some Timothy, reading the Scriptures and hearing his mother or his grandmother expound them, says, ’Lord, here am I.’ Young man, will you not turn tonight? Oh, see the line of demarcation. Who crosses next? Maiden, is it you? Shall we very soon sadly inquire, ’Where is she?’ ’She is not.’ ’Not found.’ In that grave, there, the coffin holds its ashes, her soul is not there.’ ’Where is she?’ O, eternity, eternity, eternity I beg you now, right now, take a step in the direction of heaven. I plead with you in view of the brittle thread of life; in view of its brevity, in view of the judgment, in view of the eternity of being, which must come when we pass out of this state of existence, I entreat you to begin now to walk with God. Who walks not with him here shall never walk with him yonder in white. Be reconciled to him tonight that you may begin to walk with him tomorrow. Who is not reconciled here is irreconciled forever. Be a child – a spiritual child of God, learning to walk on the King’s highway – stepping heavenward. Oh, take a step tonight, thou fearful, trembling one. God holds out his hands; walk into his arms of love." In this sermon of the important things in connection with the life of Enoch there are three, and now one more remains. There is a passage in the book of Jude to the effect that, "To these also Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their works of ungodliness which they have ungodly wrought, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him." That translation is awful, as to the tense, saying, "Behold, the Lord came." The idiom of the language does not require such a tense. It ought to be, "The Lord will come." Concerning this statement in the book of Jude there has been much controversy. Not a great while ago a manuscript was found purporting to be the full text of the book of Enoch. In it there is language quite similar to Jude’s statement, not exactly like it, but similar to it. It is evidently not a verbal quotation from Jude; nor are the words in Jude quoted from it. Now it has been contended by many that this book of Enoch was written – at least some of it – before Christ came, and that Jude quotes from this Apocryphal book. That is the contention. On the other hand, many scholars believe that what is called the book of Enoch was written by a Christian after Jude’s day, and that the passage to which I referred is an elaboration of Jude’s statement. I am quite sure that no man can be safely confident as to the exact date of that book of Enoch. Personally, I do not at all believe that it antedates the book of Jude. The question then arises: From what source did Jude get this information about the prophecy of Enoch? And you might ask, From what source did Peter get his information that Noah was a preacher of righteousness? And you might also ask, From what source does Paul get the names of the magicians who withstood Moses – Jannes and Jambres? To all of which inquiries it is the easiest thing to say, and the most rational, "They got it by inspiration of God."

Then comes up this point: Enoch in his lifetime having prophesied that the Lord would come with myriads of his holy ones – angels – when is this coming? Did he refer exclusively to the coming of the Lord in judgment of the world by the flood, or even if this be his primary intent, did he also look far beyond the flood to the final advent of our Lord? In answer to this question, we may say that the prophets frequently had a primary reference to things near their own times, and yet the deepest significance of their words looks to the times of our Lord. It is easy to see this in David’s prophecy concerning Solomon; it starts off apparently with Solomon in view, but expands into a vision of the King wiser and greater than Solomon, whose dominion is the whole world. So it may well be that Enoch, profoundly impressed with the impiety of his day, might speak in stern denunciation of the corruption that was then in the world and of the impending judgment of God, but its use in the New Testament shows that he was looking forward to a final world judgment which the flood prefigured. (See 2 Peter 3:5-12.)

Some people make out that the Old Testament saints had no clear ideas of the future world, that they did not see beyond the grave. The translation of Enoch is an everlasting refutation of that contention, and his prophecy concerning the final judgment of God upon men is as conclusive as his translation. Indeed, as we intelligently study the Old Testament we must revise the judgment of little light before the flood, as will be shown in the next chapter. The theme of that chapter is: "The Light Possessed by the Antediluvians."

In the preceding chapter I told you how to find the age of the world since man occupied it till the coming of the flood, according to the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, namely, by a simple addition to the age of Adam when Seth was born, the age of Seth when his son was born, and so on till you come to Noah, and then add 600 years, the age of Noah when the flood came. By adding these figures you obtain 1,656 years, or more than sixteen and a half centuries, as the age of man’s occupancy of the world at the time of the flood. That is according to the Hebrew text. There is extant a very faulty text of the Old Testament, called the Samaritan Pentateuch. According to the Samaritan Pentateuch it was 1.307 years from the creation of Adam to the flood, and this result is gained by taking away from the age figures in the Hebrew enough to make the difference. Then we have the Septuagint, or the Greek translation of the Old Testament, no part of which is older than 250 B.C. Now the Septuagint differs from the figures which I have given by adding 100 years in the following cases:

100 years to Adam before Seth was born;

100 years to Seth before his son was born;

100 years to Enoch before his son was born;

100 years to Kenan before his son was born;

100 years to Mahalaleel before his son was born; in like manner

100 years to Enoch, and then adding

Six years to Lamech. That gives a total, according to the Septuagint, of 2,262 years from the creation of Adam to the flood. We have still a different account of it in the book of Josephus. Josephus agrees with the Septuagint in adding those hundreds, but agrees with the Hebrew when it comes to the age of Lamech; and so there is only six years difference between Josephus’ account and the Septuagint account, that is to say, Josephus has 2,256 years.

This brings up an old question: The antiquity of the human race upon the earth. Now if we take the figures in the Hebrew text, 1,656 to the flood, the 367 to the call of Abraham, the 430 from the call of Abraham to the Exodus and the time given variously from the Exodus to the coming of Christ, we have 4,004 years in all. Now add that to 1913, our present A.D. time, and you get, according to the Bible, the antiquity of man, 5,917 years. That is the Bible statement of the antiquity of man. But over against this come the’ various and contradictory contentions of men arguing from their own conclusions in the several departments of science to which they have given special attention. From geology comes a contention based on fossil remains and the computed time in the formation of the several strata of the earth, that man must have lived on the earth anywhere from 100,000 to 1,000,000 years. All of which is mere conjecture since no two of them will give the same date, though they are studying the same matter. Not very long ago a very able scientist laughed at all of these extravagant assertions of man’s antiquity, based upon anything that is to be found in history, geology, paleontology. Mark Twain was so much amused by reading the different calculations made on insufficient data by geological experts he took a hand him- self on this fashion. He mentions a date on which the length of the Mississippi River between Cairo and New Orleans was definitely known to be so much. Then he gave subsequent well known dates when the river each time shortened its course by a cutoff. These were his facts. Now followed his conclusions that if the length of the river was shortened so much in a given time the date was not remote when Memphis and New Orleans would be brought in touch and put under one municipal government, and by the same token just a million years ago next November it was then sticking out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing pole.

Take another example: John Fiske, who was one of the greatest historical lecturers, and the most interesting that I have ever read after, when he comes to consider the settlement of Jamestown, Virginia, finds himself unable, with the data before him, to fix the precise date. But the same John Fiske, when speaking as an evolutionist, can give you the exact date of the formation of the strata and the dates of the ages of all the fossils to a fraction, and he consequently can prove to you that man has been living on the earth one million years. In other words, when discussing facts near the present time, where there are abundant contemporaneous data, he is very modest in claiming an exact date for a well-known event. But when he leaps out into the vagaries of evolutionary speculations he becomes confidently assertive and knows better than the Almighty himself when things took place, millions of years ago. Consequently my advice to you is to possess your souls with patience until these infallible experts get at least within a million years of each other, and go on believing what the Bible says about the antiquity of man.

Two well-known historical events will aid you somewhat in moderating your awe of those very learned men:

A clear-cut section of the deposit on the buried cities of Herculaneum and Pompeii cut straight down from the surface to the streets will exhibit layers, or strata, bearing the marks of incalculable periods of time, and yet all of it resulted from one eruption of Versuvius.

The phosphate beds of South Carolina contain the mingled bones of animals, including man’s, which, according to these same infallible gentlemen, were separated from each other by cycles of ages in the time of their existence on earth.

Moreover, if we accept the Bible account of the flood, how much that puzzles the geologist will be explained. In Genesis 1:2-10, we learn how chaos was eliminated, particularly the part played by atmosphere. The flood in a large measure reversed this process and restored chaos. I say that much of chaos was eliminated by atmosphere. The weight of the atmosphere separated the waters below from the waters above; and then the separation of the waters below from the land below was brought about by a subsidence at one place and a raising of the earth at other places. Now, if the flood reverses that process which eliminated chaos and brings chaos back again, who can tell what changes were wrought in the time of the flood on deposits of strata that we now geologically examine? We know much to be historically true: that in one night an island of magnitude, through volcanic eruptions, can rise up out of the sea; we also know that in one night land that is high sinks down by a sudden subsidence into the waters, and the ocean rolls over it forever. So that until we get surer scientific light, you may rest yourselves content with what the Bible says about the antiquity of man. It is questionable whether geology has as yet attained to a science. It teaches some things you may rely on, but the huge conclusions deduced from a minimum of facts are enough to make any man distrust the teachings of his textbooks on geology, on psychology, on biology, and on zoology.

The next point that I want to bring out is: We find that Lamech, a descendant of Cain, a bigamist and a murderer, got off a piece of poetry, and this is the poetry:

Adah and Zillah, hear my voice:

Ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech;

For I have slain a man for wounding me,

And a young man for bruising me:

If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold,

Truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.

That is poetic in form; you can tell that, even in the translation. Now, when we come to a Lamech who is a descendant of Seth we find a sweeter poem. You see these poems come from two Lamechs, one a Cainite, the other a Sethite. When Noah was born, Lamech, his father, says:

This one will comfort us

From our labour,

And from the toil of our hands,

From the ground,

Which Jehovah cursed.

That is also poetical in form. But how shall we interpret the prophecy of the latter poem? We saw that Enoch obtained a revelation at the time that his son, Methuselah, was born and that he prophetically named him to signify that the end of the world would come with the death of this child, and it is a fact that the year in which Methuselah died the flood came. Now, as to the prophecy! The word, "Noah," means "rest." So he says, "He [this baby of ours] shall comfort us, or rest us, from our labour, and from the toil of our hands, because of the ground which Jehovah hath cursed." Now, to my astonishment, so accurate an interpreter, and usually so sound an interpreter as Thomas J. Conant, whose translation I have just read, says in a note, "There appears to be no reference to Noah’s subsequent history as given in the sacred records. They seem rather to express the pious and grateful feelings of poor, time-worn parents on the birth of a son from whom they hope for relief in the labours to which sin has subjected mankind." If that interpretation is correct, then the words are divested of all prophetic idea and of the hope of the weary parents. I am glad to say that the best of the interpreters do not favor Dr. Conant. He says, "there appears to be’ no reference to Noah’s subsequent history." But let us prove a reference. Lamech speaks of the ground which God had cursed and of his son bringing rest. Now, if we turn to Noah’s sacrifice after leaving the ark we find these words: "And the Lord smelled a sweet savour, and the Lord said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every living thing, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seed time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease" (Genesis 8:21-22). So that evidently this old father, Lamech, saw that in the days of his son Noah the ground which God had cursed would be delivered from one part of that curse. It is evidently, therefore, a prophecy, and I could easily show, if I chose to take the time, that far beyond Noah personally, it looks to Shiloh, the rest that remains for the people of God. It looks to one greater than Noah, even to our Lord Jesus Christ, who will redeem the earth at last, absolutely, from the curse which sin entailed upon it, when Adam committed his offense against himself and versus all his seed.

1. What the meaning of "God took him"? Cite New Testament proof.

2. What other Old Testament case of translation?

3. When, according to the New Testament, will there be other cases?

4. What is the New Testament description of the process which takes place?

5. What are the things that keep people from soberly reflecting?

6. Give briefly the application of the sermon on Enoch.

7. What prophecy of Enoch preserved in the New Testament?

8. What controversy about this passage?

9. From what source did Jude get his information about the prophecy of Enoch?

10. What did Enoch mean by the coming of the Lord with his holy ones?

11. What evidence that Old Testament saints had clear ideas of the future world?

12. How long from the creation of Adam to the flood, according to the Samaritan Pentateuch? The Septuagint? Josephus?

13. According to our Bible what is the antiquity of the human race?

14. What is the testimony of some scientists and the value of their testimony?

15. What was Mark Twain’s illustration?

16. What was John Fiske’s position and what was the fallacy of it?

17. What two historical events in point and what do they prove?

18. What is the bearing of the process of the flood and the rising and subsiding of islands in a short time, on the position of some geologists?

19. Contrast the poetry of the two Lamechs. Which is the better?

20. Is this later poem a prophecy, and, if so, to what does it immediately refer?

21. What is Dr. Conant’s interpretation of it?

22. To what remote event does the author refer this prophecy?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Genesis 5". "Carroll's Interpretation of the English Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bhc/genesis-5.html.
Ads FreeProfile