I make no secret about the fact that I am utterly convinced of the Bible’s veracity as the true Word of God. Recently I posted on the topic of Genesis 1:1, discussing the amazing hidden messages and unseen characteristics of the original Hebrew text. This week I want to once again look to the Hebrew to reveal another fascinating message encoded within the structure of the language that we, in our modern English translations, never see. This time I want to turn to Genesis chapter 5, to the message of the Patriarchs.
1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;
2 Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.
3 And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, and after his image; and called his name Seth:
4 And the days of Adam after he had begotten Seth were eight hundred years: and he begat sons and daughters:
5 And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died.
6 And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos:
7 And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters:
8 And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died.
9 And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan:
10 And Enos lived after he begat Cainan eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters:
11 And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died.
12 And Cainan lived seventy years and begat Mahalaleel:
13 And Cainan lived after he begat Mahalaleel eight hundred and forty years, and begat sons and daughters:
14 And all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years: and he died.
15 And Mahalaleel lived sixty and five years, and begat Jared:
16 And Mahalaleel lived after he begat Jared eight hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters:
17 And all the days of Mahalaleel were eight hundred ninety and five years: and he died.
18 And Jared lived an hundred sixty and two years, and he begat Enoch:
19 And Jared lived after he begat Enoch eight hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:
20 And all the days of Jared were nine hundred sixty and two years: and he died.
21 And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:
22 And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:
23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.
25 And Methuselah lived an hundred eighty and seven years, and begat Lamech.
26 And Methuselah lived after he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and two years, and begat sons and daughters:
27 And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.
28 And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son:
29 And he called his name Noah, saying, This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed.
30 And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters:
31 And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died.
32 And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.
Now, right off the bat I want to acknowledge that there is a wealth of information that can be drawn from this passage beyond just a genealogical study. Among other things, this chapter gives us insights into both the age of the Earth and into certain biological aspects of the early planet, but all that must (for now) wait. Also, given the exact direction we will be heading this time, the only verses relevant to our work at hand are verses 1, 3, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 25, 28, and 29. Reducing that again further, the gist of these verses amount to an abridged genealogy with Chapter 5 (and reaffirmed within Luke’s gospel in the New Testament). That genealogy is as such:
God created Adam
Adam was Seth’s father
Seth was Enos’s father
Enos was Cainan’s father
Cainan was Mahalaleel’s father
Mahalaleel was Jared’s father
Jared was Enoch’s father
Enoch was Methuselah’s father
Methuselah was Lamech’s father
Lamech was Noah’s father
How often have we simply ran through this chapter of Genesis, like other genealogical lists of the Bible, because it just seemed so redundant, and (dare I say it) disposable? Friend, I can assure you, nothing in the Bible is disposable. Nothing is irrelevant. Everything has it’s place in not only the straightforward interpretation of the text, but also, as we often find when digging a bit, it holds much more meaning than just the obvious reading reveals.
So, getting into it now, we need to address the meaning of names. What is your name? Do you know the meaning of your name? While there are a number of books and websites that assist in this, those of the old patriarchs can be a bit more mysterious. One of the problems is that the names of those listed in Genesis 5, and other such places, are proper nouns and thus are not “translated” from their Hebrew versions but rather “transliterated.” As such, to find the true meanings of these names there must be a bit of effort put forth; and like so much else, it is an exercise that is not without its critics. In any case, there is sizable body of evidence upon which to stake a worthwhile claim.
Looking to the genealogy at hand, our first name presents no problem; Adam (אָדָם – Strong’s Concordance 120), the name of the father of the human race itself, is directly translatable to “man” or “mankind.” No surprises here. It is worth a mention that Adam is linguistically associated with the word for “red (adom – אָדֹם – Strong’s Concordance 122; possibly a reference to red dirt, ruddy skin, or even blood), so make what you may of that.
Now, you may wonder why Adam’s first two sons are skipped over in favor of his third, Seth (From Sheth – שֵׁת). Simply put, Seth is the first of Adam’s sons that actually was capable of replacing the first two, Cain and Abel. Cain killed Abel, you see, and for for his actions he was exiled, thus ending his claim to Adam’s legacy. As God was relying upon this line to eventually bring about the Savior, we find in Genesis 4 that a fix was in the works, as God provided Adam and Eve with a replacement to the two sons they had “lost.” Verse 25 says, “And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew.” What does Seth’s name mean? Just as the Eve declares in that verse, Seth means “appointed.” He was appointed as a replacement to his predecessors.
Next, we find the son of Seth was Enos. Looking to the linguistic roots of that name we can conclude that Enos may not have been a healthy child for his name, possessing the linguistic root anash (אָנַשׁ – Strong’s Concordance 605), directly translates to “mortal,” “miserable,” “incurable,” or even “frail.”
Enos’ son, Cainan (from the Hebrew Kênān -קֵינָן), may have also suffered from some malady, as his name translates to “sorrow.”
After two generations filled with pity and sorrow, apparently Cainan had decided that he had had enough. His son was Mahalaleel (try saying that five times fast) and his name holds a wonderful meaning. What is it? Well, it is actually believed to be a compound of two words, “mahalal” and “El.” Mahalal (מַהֲלָל – Strong’s Concordance 4110) means “blessed” or “praised,” while El (אֵל – Strong’s Concordance 410) is a name for God (consider “Elohim,” as discussed in my post on Concealed Confirmations ). When put together we find that Mahalaleel translates to something along the lines of “blessed God” or “the Blessed of God.”
Mahalaleel’s son was Jared, and his name is directly associated with the Hebrew verb yaradh (יָרַד – Strong’s Concordance 3381), which translates into the verbs for “descend,” “flow,” or even “come down.
Jared of course gave rise to Enoch (from Chanok – חֲנוֹך), and Enoch’s name means “teaching,” “discipline,” or “to initiate.” Enoch is an interesting character in his own right, not only meeting some mysterious and seemingly deathless end (as noted in Genesis 5:24 and emphasized in Hebrews 11:5) but also he is declared in Jude 1:14 – 15 to have been the first to prophesy about the second coming of Christ, saying “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
In any case, Enoch fathered Methuselah, and within his name we find some really intriguing details. Like Mahalaleel, Methuselah’s name is apparently derived from two root words. The first, “muth (מוּת – Strong’s Concordance 4191),” means “death” or “to die.” The second word, “shalach (שָׁלַח – Strong’s Concordance 7971),” corresponds to “bring” or “send forth.” As such, it may be that Enoch was given a vision by the Lord letting him know that when Methuselah died, his death would bring with it a great judgement, for his name directly translated to “his death shall bring.” It should come as no surprise then that in the very year of Methuselah’s death (As the genealogy of Genesis 5 reveals, Methuselah fathered Lamech at the age of 187, and then went on to live an additional 782 years; If we consider that Lamech himself fathered Noah at the age of 182, and account for the fact that Genesis tells us that the flood came in Noah’s 600th year, then we can absolutely see how Methuselah’s death apparently heralded that global baptism), we read in Genesis 7:11 of how “all the fountains of the great deep” were broken up, and how “the windows of heaven were opened,” bringing about the global flood of Noah’s day. Methuselah, lest we forget, was recorded as the oldest man in the Bible, living to the ripe ol’ age of 969 years. If we understand what his name meant, then we must acknowledge that the sinful antediluvian world and its heathen inhabitants were a mirror image of our modern societies: they largely knew the prophecies of God but just didn’t care about what they were promised was coming.
Alrighty, getting back to the matter at hand, we read of how Methuselah fathered Lamech (לָ֫מֶך), and his name means to “despair,” “grieving,” or to “lament.” Again, like the names of Enos and Cainan, it reflects a certain sense of suffering or grief.
Finally, we come to Noah, the son of Lamech. What does his name mean? Just as Lamech himself explains in Genesis 5:29, saying, “This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed.” Noah’s name (being derived from noach – נֹ֫חַ – Strong’s Concordance 5146), thus translates to “comfort” or “rest.”
So where does all this get us? What is the significance of the patriarchal names from Adam to Noah?
Adam – Man
Seth – Appointed
Enos – Mortal
Cainan – Sorrow
Mahalaleel – Blessed God
Jared – Came Down
Enoch – Teaching
Methuselah – His Death Shall Bring
Lamech – Despairing
Noah – Rest
You see, if we competently assemble those names into a cohesive sentence, minimally adjusting for conjugations and the like, we find a compelling statement is encoded within the text! Now, bridging the gaps we can read it as:
“Man is appointed mortal sorrow, but the Blessed God shall come down teaching that His death shall bring the despairing rest.”
Here, intrinsic to the very makeup of the language of Genesis, is the ultimate story of creation. Mankind, at the fall, was appointed a curse of pain and sorrow and death; a curse which ultimately would not be resolved until God Himself descended from Heaven, teaching the masses of how His death upon a cross would finally bring true comfort and rest to those who yet suffer.
Was this an accident? Could this simply be some aberration of the language, a misunderstanding perhaps of something else? I think not. I believe that the Good Lord knew very well what He was doing in those days, moving within the hearts of His people, compelling them either through emotion or unspoken commands to call their sons according to specific names; names that, for generations, were overlooked in terms of significance. And for those who may defend their skepticism, saying perhaps that the names were amended later, after Christ, in order to falsely reflect some greater and transcendent truth, we must not forget that these verses far predate the New Testament period, a fact that is entirely supported by mountains of evidence and cultural memory!
This is just one of those little things that blows my mind each time I consider it for it just drips with unmistakable telltale signs of design. For those that question God’s motives in “hiding” such messages I will point you to Proverbs 25:2:
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.
Seek out those treasures, people!
- Missler, Chuck, Beyond Coincidence (audio book with notes), Koinonia House, Coeur d Alene ID, 83816, 1994
- Dr. Missler, Chuck, “A Hidden Message: The Gospel in Genesis,” Personal Update News Journal, February 1996
- Dr. Missler, Chuck, “Your Questions Answered By Chuck Missler, Meanings Of The Names In Genesis 5,” Personal Update News Journal, August 2000
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Thank you very much, and God bless!