Genesis 5:1-32 (The Generations of Adam)

Genesis 5:1-32
The Generations of Adam

Introduction: I suppose most of you have heard of the rapture. Has anyone here not heard of it? I would guess that some of you know without even looking that the rapture is described in 1 Corinthians 15, 1 Thessalonians 4, and Revelation 4:1. I bet fewer of you know that the rapture is actually prefigured several times in the Old Testament. One of those times is in Chapter 5 of the book of Genesis, right in a line of names and ages of some of Adam’s descendants.

After the fall and the record of Abel and Cain, the first nine generations of Adam are recorded in Genesis 5 and end with the 10th generation – that of Noah. The flood of Noah came in the year 1656 Anno Mundi and other than Genesis 1-5, nothing is recorded for that entire period of time.

Believe it or not though, there could have been a billion or more people alive by the time of the flood. That’s actually a pretty sad commentary on how things went. Out of maybe 1 billion or more people we have a record of only 27 people given by name. All the rest were lost in the ever consuming flame of time.

We looked at the line of Cain in Genesis 4, and in Genesis 5 we have the line of Seth, the godly line which will eventually lead to the Messiah. These people were selected by God and for His reasons alone and very little is said about them, but today we’ll look for some hints as to who they were and what they mean in the overall picture of the Bible concerning the coming Christ.

Text Verse: And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:

“I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.”2 Corinthians 6:16

May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. In the Image of God

1 This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.

The genealogy, or toledot, of Adam. One of the most interesting studies I’ve ever done is on this word toledot or “generations.” The first time the word is used is in Genesis 2:4 where it says “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,…”

The word toledot in Genesis 2:4 is speaking of man while in the Garden of Eden. Its spelling is tav, vav dalet, lamed, vav, tav. In other words, there are 2 vavs in the spelling. The next time the word is used is here in Genesis 5:1, after the fall of man, and its spelled with only one vav. The second vav fell out of the word just as man fell in the garden.

Vav is the sixth letter of the Hebrew aleph-bet and it is pictured by a tent peg and the number 6 in the Bible represents “man” such as man being created on the 6th day. So you see “fallen man” is what’s being relayed here.

The word toledot is used 39 times throughout the Old Testament at various times when referring to different groups of people, but it is never spelled with two vavs again until the end of the book of Ruth. In every occurrence between Genesis and Ruth one or both of the vavs is missing. So why is it that not until the end of Ruth that it’s spelled with two vavs again?

The reason is that in Ruth, the lineage of King David is given. Up until that time, God was working through various people and had made various covenants with them. These were to Noah, Abraham, and Moses. The final covenant was to David.

At this time, the second vav was reintroduced to the word toledot to indicate that the restoration of fallen man would come through the line of David and this was the final peg in the tent of God’s covenants before the coming Christ.

As I mentioned, there are 39 toledots in the Bible which correlates to the 39 books of the Old Testament.

God never forgets the work of His hands and He will never forget you. If you are born again through Christ, you are no longer fallen, but complete and alive forevermore. The likeness of God that was given at the creation was lost, but that likeness is restored in us when we call on Jesus as our Savior.

That’s what these little hidden things in the Bible are telling us. Paul explains this mystery in 1 Corinthians 15 –

“As was the earthly man (that’s the fallen man, the man without the vav), so are those who are of the earth (there is something missing); and as is the man from heaven (full and complete), so also are those who are of heaven. 49 And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man (fallen and earthly), so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven (restored and complete).”

I don’t know if that excites you, but to me it is sweeter than honey to my taste.

2 He created them male and female, and blessed them and called them Mankind in the day they were created.

This verse and the one before are echoes, if you remember, from the creation account and have been repeated here to remind us of our fallen state. We were created in original perfection, but the death and trials which came about at the fall were caused by our own violation of God’s command and didn’t happen accidentally.

Man wasn’t – and then he was. Adam had no earthly parents, but He was created by God on the sixth day and with his woman they were blessed by God. Because they were created in God’s image they had no natural or moral evil. These came about at the fall.

The next verses will give a record of the names, years, and deaths of the sons of Adam, and so before those are given, we’re reminded of the way things originally were in order to show us the justice and sovereignty of God in His dealings with man.

3 And Adam lived one hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth. 4 After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years; and he had sons and daughters. 5 So all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years; and he died.

Seth born 130              Appointed

These three verses tell us lots of things. It begins the record of the age of the earth. Adam was created on the 6th day which is a literal day. In other words, the world was 6 days old when Adam was created. His son Seth is born at his 130th year and as we follow the years in the Bible we can determine the age of the world.

During those 130 years, Adam had Cain, Abel, and at least one daughter. We know this because Cain had a wife. It’s likely that they had lots more children by the time Seth came around, but Seth is the focus of the story – no one else bears on the coming Christ.

These verses also tell us that Adam had a son in his own image. In other words, the son born to Adam is a fallen man. We didn’t revert back to a sinless state, but instead we bear the fallen image of Adam. There is no such thing as the inner divine spark which other religions speak of. We are earthly, we are mortal, and we are sold under sin – which means we are obliged to die.

This fallen state then is in each human since Adam. We know this from these three verses. We can also tell that all Adam’s sons are destined to die just as Adam died. He died in the 930th year of his life and in the 930th year from creation.

6 Seth lived one hundred and five years, and begot Enosh. 7 After he begot Enosh, Seth lived eight hundred and seven years, and had sons and daughters. 8 So all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years; and he died.
9 Enosh lived ninety years, and begot Cainan. 10 After he begot Cainan, Enosh lived eight hundred and fifteen years, and had sons and daughters. 11 So all the days of Enosh were nine hundred and five years; and he died.
12 Cainan lived seventy years, and begot Mahalalel. 13 After he begot Mahalalel, Cainan lived eight hundred and forty years, and had sons and daughters. 14 So all the days of Cainan were nine hundred and ten years; and he died.
15 Mahalalel lived sixty-five years, and begot Jared. 16 After he begot Jared, Mahalalel lived eight hundred and thirty years, and had sons and daughters. 17 So all the days of Mahalalel were eight hundred and ninety-five years; and he died.

We just read through 12 verses. This is more combined verses at one time than at any point since we started our tour of Genesis. If we keep up this pace, we can be done with Revelation Chapter 22 verse 21 by the year 2097. Be here each week until then.

Here are a few facts about these four men –

Seth died 1042
Enosh 235/1140                                       Mortal
Cainan 325/1235                                      Possession
Mahalalel 395/1290                                 Praise of God
Jared born 460                                         Going Down

The age old skepticism about the accuracy of the Bible finds no greater place to begin than right in these verses. Who lives to 900 years of age? It’s simply incredible for us to imagine. And yet we can’t insert our current situation into what it might have been like at some other time.

The heaviest reptiles on earth, Komodo Dragons, only get to be about 300 pounds now. The longest – the Australian Saltwater Crocodiles – get to be about 23 feet long. If we used Bible skeptic’s logic about the age of man in the same way as we do about dinosaurs then we’d never believe they existed.

But we have all the assurance of the archaeological record to support dinosaurs that were a little bit bigger than reptiles now. The Bruhathkayosaurus which lived in the area of Tamil Nadu, India grew to 145 feet in length and weighed 220 tons. Yes, that is 440,000 pounds – the weight of a 747. If we had no bones to prove this, it would be far more incomprehensible than a man living to 900 years of age.

The only difference is that age doesn’t leave any archaeological footprint, like dinosaur bones. But man does leave his stories in writing. This chapter of Genesis mentions the book of the genealogy of Adam. The Hebrew term sepher indicates that this written document served as a basis for the writings of Moses.

There really is no problem with the long lives recorded here. If reptiles grew as big as they did, then the world was obviously a completely different ecosystem before the flood. The world was probably smaller in size which led to higher atmospheric pressure.

Plus there was a canopy known as a raquia above the earth which was probably crystalline in nature. This would have kept out any harmful radiation. All things considered and taken in context, there is no reason at all to dismiss the accounts and every reason to believe them. Yes men lived 900 years.

It’s even more certain that the account is true because the ages of men after the flood continued to get progressively shorter as the generations came and went. This occurred right up until the average lifespan of people today which has remained basically the same ever since.

The Jewish historian Josephus says this about the sons of Adam from Seth to Noah at the time of the flood –

“But let no one, upon comparing the lives of the ancients with our lives, and with the few years which we now live, think that what we have said of them is false; or make the shortness of our lives at present an argument, …”

Josephus claims that the astronomical calculations and discoveries used at his time came from men who lived long enough to accurately understand the greater cycles of the universe. If this is true, then the highly advanced star charts, such as the Mayans used can be attributed to the careful work of these pre-flood people.

Whether any of this is true or not is hard to say, but the Bible does bear out right in Genesis 1 that the stars and other heavenly lights are meant for our knowledge in “signs and seasons.”

II. Walking with God

18 Jared lived one hundred and sixty-two years, and begot Enoch. 19 After he begot Enoch, Jared lived eight hundred years, and had sons and daughters. 20 So all the days of Jared were nine hundred and sixty-two years; and he died.

21 Enoch lived sixty-five years, and begot Methuselah. 22 After he begot Methuselah, Enoch walked with God three hundred years, and had sons and daughters. 23 So all the days of Enoch were three hundred and sixty-five years. 24 And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.

Jared died 1422
Enoch 622/translated 987    Teaching
Methuselah born 687            His death shall bring (Man of the dart)

Of the ten men mentioned from Adam to Noah, only four have any particular information beyond their birth, years of life, and age at death. These four are Adam, Enoch, Lamech, and Noah. In the case of Enoch, this almost strange verse is all we have, “And Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him.”

If this is all we had about the life of Enoch, we’d certainly be left scratching our heads and wondering what this meant. But fortunately, this particular person named Enoch is mentioned 10 times in the Bible.

He’s mentioned 6 times here in Genesis 5 and he’s mentioned in 1 Chronicles in the historical records of man from Adam all the way through to the Jewish society of the day. He’s also mentioned in Luke 3 in the genealogy of Jesus. And there are two more times he’s mentioned – once in Hebrews and once in Jude.

By faith Enoch was taken away so that he did not see death, “and was not found, because God had taken him”; for before he was taken he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Hebrews 11:5, 6

Here in Hebrews we learn details about Enoch that were withheld from the Old Testament. Enoch was “taken away.” He was translated from the earthly realm directly to the heavenly realm without seeing death. This makes Enoch one of only two people who never died, the other being Elijah the prophet.

Both of these men are even now serving the Lord and I believe it is they who have appeared many times in Bible history, such as in Daniel chapter 12, Acts chapter 1, and elsewhere. I personally believe they will return again during the tribulation period as the two witnesses mentioned in Revelation 11.

The Bible asks this rhetorical question in the book of Amos – “Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?” The answer is, “Of course not.” In order to walk with God as Enoch did, God must agree to the walk. In Malachi when speaking of Levi it says –

“My covenant was with him, one of life and peace, And I gave them to him that he might fear Me; So he feared Me And was reverent before My name. 6 The law of truth was in his mouth, And injustice was not found on his lips. He walked with Me in peace and equity, And turned many away from iniquity.”

Enoch walked with God because he was truthful, just, and he walked in peace and equity, and above all, he was a man of faith.

Like bookends on the Hebrew Scriptures, the person who walks properly with God is mentioned in the first and last books of the Old Testament. It is such a person that God loves.

If you ever want to do a wonderful study about being right with God, simply do an internet Bible search on the word “walk” and read all 384 times it is mentioned. There you will find vast treasure concerning how to live and move in the presence of God – walking in His way and in His statues.

Something interesting about Enoch walking with God – in the Hebrew it doesn’t just say he “walked with God” but that he “walked with the God” or ha-elohim. This is the first of about 400 times the Bible uses this term.

This statement separates Enoch as a man who walked rightly with the One true God. It implies that others had forsaken the God that they couldn’t see and didn’t want to believe in, but Enoch held fast by faith to the teachings of his ancestors and to his personal convictions about this unseen God.

He was translated because of this. The Bible promises a similar event for faithful believers now when we put our hope in Jesus. Do I really believe there will be a rapture – people just disappearing? Of course I do. Whether one person or millions, God is fully capable of keeping every promise just as His word declares.

The last time Enoch is mentioned is in the book of Jude – “Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” Jude 14

Jude added in another important detail about Enoch – he was a prophet. Within a few hundred years after the creation, men of God spoke the word of God to a people who were very quickly going astray in a world run by the devil.

25 Methuselah lived one hundred and eighty-seven years, and begot Lamech. 26 After he begot Lamech, Methuselah lived seven hundred and eighty-two years, and had sons and daughters. 27 So all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred and sixty-nine years; and he died.

Methuselah died 1656 (the year of the flood)
Lamech born 874                            Captive

You’ve probably heard the saying about some old codger, “He’s as old as Methuselah.” Well, here’s where the saying comes from. Methuselah lived to be 969 years old – the oldest person ever recorded in the annals of the world.

His name was a prophecy of the coming destruction on the world. “His death shall bring” or another translation of it is “When he is dead, it shall be sent.” However his parents knew, they knew something was coming at the time of his death. The year he died, the waters came and destroyed the world by flood.

There is another saying about an old person, “He’s as old as dirt.” In Methuselah’s case, this would be true as well. Unlike his father Enoch who was translated so that he never saw death, Methuselah died. When he did, he returned to the dust he came from.

Death for Methuselah came slowly, but it still came. Jewish writers say that he died 7 days before the flood of Noah. By just one week he was spared from the wrath which came on the whole world.

Methuselah though is looking forward to the same bright future as the faithful of all the ages – that great day of hope when Jesus Christ translates us to eternal glory.

After Methuselah, the last person to have been born before the death of Adam in this godly line was Lamech. He was born in the year 874 Anno Mundi and was the ninth man from Adam. Imagine sitting on your great-great-great-great-great-great grandpa’s lap (that’s 6 greats, a grandpa, and a dad all sitting in the same room adoring the baby!)

“Grandggggggpa, can you tell me again about the day you were put together? Did God really take out one of your ribs to make “Grandgggggg-ma Eve? Is that scar really the spot where the rib came from? Did you ask for chrome bumpers or fishing pole attachments?”

Questions like this surely brought back to Adam the painful memories of paradise lost. Life under the sun wasn’t like life under the heavens. He was the one who broke the rules. All he could do was live on, waiting to receive the final execution of his sentence given so long ago.

He was promised the dust and he knew it was where he would end. By the time he got there, death was probably a welcome guest.

28 Lamech lived one hundred and eighty-two years, and had a son. 29 And he called his name Noah, saying, “This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD has cursed.” 30 After he begot Noah, Lamech lived five hundred and ninety-five years, and had sons and daughters. 31 So all the days of Lamech were seven hundred and seventy-seven years; and he died.

Lamech died 1651
Noah 1056                              Comfort or Rest

Eight times in this chapter the words “and he died” are recorded. Other than Enoch who went straight to glory and Noah who would continue on in the next chapter, all of these men of the godly line of Seth met their end and returned to the soil.

Lamech lived to be 777 years old and he died in the year 1651, or in the 5th year before the flood came. Other than his grandpa Enoch who was translated, he had the shortest life span in this account. The 777 years of his life though are a testament to the divine grace of being taken home before the coming destruction.

Isaiah has this to say about the death of those who live for God –

The righteous perishes,
And no man takes it to heart;
Merciful men are taken away,
While no one considers
That the righteous is taken away from evil.
2 He shall enter into peace;
They shall rest in their beds,
Each one walking in his uprightness.

Sometimes we don’t understand why a child dies, or we lose a close friend at the prime of life, but God does. It’s possible that God looked into the future and saw some evil that otherwise would have happened to them and so He called them home.

As with all things, if we can truly trust in God and accept that He is sovereign, then we can rest easy that His plan is being perfectly executed for the people He has created and called.

In the case of the rapture, many sons will come to glory in the twinkling of an eye. Whether they have gone before us waiting to be wakened from their grave, or whether they will still be walking the highway of life at that moment, when the trumpet sounds, we will be forever in His glorious presence, perfectly content and forever praising the God who rescued us from ourselves.

In this account it tells us why Lamech named his son Noah, “This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD has cursed.”

The name Noah means specifically “rest” or “comfort.” Lamech was only 182 years old when he had Noah, but he was already worn out from the toilsome existence of life. The curse which came at the beginning continued on year after long year and generation after generation.

More especially though, it’s likely that the name Noah is an anticipation of what he would be, just like the name of Methuselah was a prophecy. As we saw, Methuselah means “His death will bring.” Because of the timing of Noah’s life in conjunction with Methuselah’s, his parents may have thought he would be the promised Messiah who would give the rest they had waited for.

Man was promised a Deliverer who would destroy the devil and return him to God’s rest and the naming of Noah may have anticipated that hope.

III. God with Man

32 And Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah begot Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

Shem – Name / Fame
Ham – Passion / Hot
Japheth – Enlargement / Widely Extending

This is the final verse of chapter 5 and it sets the tone for the coming account. Noah had three sons starting in his 500th year. Shem is listed first, but he wasn’t the firstborn. It says in Genesis 11 that he was 102 years old after the flood and if Noah had his first son at 500, then the firstborn was Japheth because Ham is called the youngest of the brothers in Genesis 9.

Already we’ve seen one favored second son – Abel who was killed by his brother. He was replaced by Seth who became the head of the line of God’s chosen people. This is the second favored son – Shem, who is put ahead of Japheth his older brother. It is Shem who was an ancestor of Jesus Christ.

This pattern will continue on through the Bible right to the very end and pictures both the work of Jesus and sets the tone for the doctrine known as Divine Election. God sovereignly chooses all things for His purposes and these purposes are often met in the most curious of ways. When you’re reading your Bible …


… pay attention to these type of patterns and you’ll be able to more clearly see the workings of God in human life.

How certain are we of the doctrine of Divine Election? Let’s read what Paul says in Acts 17 – “From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.”

God chooses the exact time and the exact place where each human being will live in order to give them the most perfect opportunity to seek Him out and bring Him glory. And why does he do this, the verse continues, “27 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.”

This is how God works with His wayward children. He is ever-present and working in the most effective way to reach out to us and bring us to the glorious rest that these ancients so patiently waited for. Let us not fail to respond to His call in our own lives.

The Generations of Adam

When Adam was 130 he had a son named Seth
A son in his own likeness and in his image too
It was another 800 years until he reached his death
But before he died his great-great-great-great-great-great grandson Lamech had come along too

Seth continued on for a spell and then he had Enosh
This was when he was a babe of just one-O-five
At 912 years of age he kicked the can, by gosh
But by then there were seven more generations alive

Enosh whose name means “Mortal” had a son named Cainan
This happened when Enosh was only 90, oh my!
Enosh finally bit the dust in the year 1140
After 905 long years of life passed by

Cainan was just seventy when along came Mahalalel
This special name means Praise of God
In the year 1235 they were ringing Cainan’s funeral bell
While Mahalalel continued on the earth to trod

Mahalalel was younger still when he had Jared his son
He was only 65… some might say “a scandal”
His ticker kept on a ticking till 895 years were done
And then the pall bearer grabbed Mahalalel’s casket handle

His son Jared was a much more patient guy
He didn’t have a son until 162 years passed by

But then Enoch came along, “Teaching” means his name
And Jared taught him well because Enoch walked with God
Even before Jared died, Enoch received great fame
When he was translated to glory, heavenly streets to trod

Before he got raptured up, Enoch had Methuselah
This guy lasted right up to the flooding year
He got to watch Noah build his ark – Hallelujah!
And know that the future of man was still secure

Methuselah waited until the age of one-eighty-seven
Then he had a son, Lamech was his name
At years of 969, Methuselah was bound for heaven
And his record age has brought him eons of fame

Lamech’s name means the “Captive”
Something that resembles us all
It’s a trait that everyone carries
Ever since the fall

And a son came to Lamech, a son to ease the toil
He was 182 when Noah finally came around
A son to help work the stubborn angry soil
A son to help till the clods of the ground

Lamech breathed his last at the age of 777
Five years before the flood would destroy the earth
Someday we’ll meet him on the streets of heaven
If we first receive the promised new birth

God has plan, and it’s written in these names
A plan that tells of the coming of His Son
Even the wildest heart Jesus readily tames
The gospel story tells us that the victory is won

I want to see how many of you have paid attention to this sermon. I’ve given you the 10 names from Adam down to Noah and what their meaning is? I want to see if any of you can give me those ten names, in order? I’ll throw in 10 dollars if you can give me the translation into English that I gave you. I’ll throw in 100 dollars if you will give me the year they were born, and I’ll throw in a thousand if you can tell me the year they died. Anyone?

*Adam                                    Man
Seth                                        Appointed
*Enosh                                   Mortal
Cainan                                    Possession
Mahalalel                               Praise of God
Jared                                       Descent (Going Down)
Enoch                                     Teaching
Methuselah                            His death shall bring
Lamech                                   Captive
Noah                                       Rest

Jesus Christ, the Son of Man was Appointed by God to become a Mortal, a Man who could die so that we would become the recipients of the promised Possession of eternal life to the Praise of God. He Descended from heaven for the purpose of Teaching. His death is what released the Captives and has given them the Rest promised since the fall of Man.

Hallelujah and Amen…




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