WEEK 1, DAY 2: TODAY’S READING: GENESIS 4—6
The sacrifices of Cain and Abel; Cain murders Abel; genealogy from Adam to Noah; the days of Noah; Noah’s ark.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
The physical and spiritual ramifications of the entrance of sin into the perfect environment into which man was placed were unbelievably devastating. The curse of sin that entered into the world in chapter 3 is already clearly manifest in chapter 4 as Cain murders his own brother.
Cain’s is the religion of HUMAN WORKS. Sadly, billions of people follow “Cain’s religion” to this very day! Cain offers to God the fruit of his own labor. His offering recognized God as CREATOR, but it did not recognize Cain as a SINNER. Abel’s religion, however, is that of FAITH. His offering not only recognized God as Creator, but the fact of his own sinfulness. He recognized that the blood sacrifice of a lamb was necessary to atone for his sin. (Heb. 9:22; 11:4; Pro. 27:26)
Notice that God asks Cain a question in 4:9, giving him the opportunity to confess his sin. Rather than “own” his sin in repentance before God, notice in 4:16 that Cain goes “out from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden.” Note that from this point in the Bible, virtually every positive move will be from EAST to WEST—while virtually every negative move will be from WEST to EAST. Note, also, that the word “Nod” means “to stray” or “to wander.” Even the land in which Cain chose to dwell speaks of his willful choice to refuse to confess his sin, his refusal to trust the blood of the lamb, and his refusal to move toward God.
Where did Cain get his wife? It’s the age-old question. Obviously, Cain married one of his sisters. By the time he takes a wife, Adam and Eve have many descendants, and there has been given no Divine prohibition forbidding him from taking one of them to be his wife. The very idea of marrying a relative sounds strange and even repulsive to us, until we realize that though in a much larger sense, all of us are descendants of Noah, and all of us who are married have likewise married another descendant of Noah.
Chapter 5 is another one of those passages like we saw in Genesis 2:1–3 in yesterday’s reading where God reveals to us how He thinks—and just how supernatural His Book actually is! Because right in-between the account of Cain and Abel in chapter 4—and the account of the days of Noah in chapter 6, God clears off the 32 verses of chapter 5 to provide us a genealogy. For many people who are seeking to read through the Bible in a year, genealogies can seem somewhat “boring” (if we’re allowed to say that!)—but they do at least provide an opportunity to do some “speed-reading!” Remember, however, that Proverbs 30:5 says, “Every word of God is pure!” Don’t ever forget—everything in the Word of God is important—and there is nothing in God’s Book that is random.
First of all, the genealogy is important because it provides for us a very significant timeline. It lets us know that there is actually a 1653 year period between Genesis 4 and 6! Sure, that’s important—but why not just provide one verse, or maybe even just a footnote at the end of chapter 4 that says something like, “And, oh, by the way—there’s a 1653 year gap between what just happened here with Cain and Abel—and what happened next with Noah.” Why 32 verses? I mean—that’s more verses than God spent talking about the entire first six “days” in Genesis 1!
Here’s the reason: through the meaning of the names of the 10 men who are listed in the genealogy in Genesis 5—God is going to do something to literally blow our doors off! Check this out…
#1 is ADAM – and his name simply means “MAN.”
#2 is SETH – his name means “APPOINTED.”
#3 is ENOS – his name means “DESPERATELY WICKED.”
#4 is CAINAN – and his name means “POSSESSION.”
#5 is MAHALALEEL – meaning “PRAISE OF GOD.”
#6 is JARED – which means “DESCENT.”
#7 is ENOCH – and his name means “DEDICATED” or “TRAIN UP.”
#8 is METHUSELAH – which means “MAN OF THE SWORD.”
#9 is LAMECH – meaning “POWERFUL.” And,
#10 is NOAH – in his name means “REST.”
And what becomes apparent as we look at the meaning of these names compared to what God reveals throughout the remainder of the Bible—is that more than simply providing us a timeline through the listing of these 10 men, God is actually using the meaning of their names to provide for us, not just an outline of the Bible, but an outline of the entire course of man’s 7000 year history on this planet! Let me explain…
The first man, ADAM, meaning “MAN,” represents CREATION—and specifically, the CREATION of MAN. And God did that in Genesis 1:26. God said, “Let us make MAN in our image after our likeness…”
Then, SETH, meaning “APPOINTED,” represents the COMMISSION God gave to the “MAN.” Notice that after God created the man in Genesis 1:26, in the remainder of verse 26 through verse 28, God “APPOINTS” man to have dominion over everything In the earth and sea, and “APPOINTS” him, or “COMMISSIONS” him (along with his bride), “to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth.” That’s was his commission, or what he was “APPOINTED” by God to do.
And then, there’s ENOS. After man was “APPOINTED” to carry out the commission, something happened to his heart: it became “DESPERATELY WICKED!” (Jer. 17:9) And so, ENOS represents the FALL of man—where man loses the “image of God,” and thus, the ability to reproduce “sons of God.” He now only has the ability to reproduce “sons of Adam.” After his FALL, Genesis 5:3 says that Adam “begat a son in his own likeness, after his image,” which, of course, was FALLEN. And that’s a problem! It certainly looks as if the plan of God through MAN has been forever thwarted!
But through the next name, CAINAN, meaning “POSSESSION,” God shows us the direction the plan is going to go and how He will fulfill it. And in Genesis 17, God enters into an unconditional covenant with a man by the name of ABRAM, or ABRAHAM—along with “his seed” after him. That “seed,” of course, was the NATION of ISRAEL! And listen to what God said to ABRAHAM in Genesis 17:8, “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the LAND where in thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting (listen to this next word…) “POSSESSION!” God also told Abraham in 17:6, that “kings shall come out of thee.” And we begin to see that the Nation of Israel would produce the “KING” who would rule over the whole earth—and all of the Gentile nations of the world would come to Jerusalem to “PRAISE the GOD” of Israel!
And interestingly enough, the next name in the genealogy is MAHALALEEL, meaning, “PRAISE of GOD.” And in Kings 10, it’s incredible! During the REIGN of SOLOMON, the Nation of Israel is the “PRAISE of GOD,” and the kings and queens of the Gentile nations are coming to bow before the “king of Israel,” the “son of David” (hello?), and present him gifts. It is the “glory days” of the Nation of Israel, as they are, indeed, the “PRAISE of GOD.”
But then, no sooner are we out of 1 Kings 10 before in 1 Kings 11, the Nation of Israel begins their “DESCENT.” And again, interestingly enough, the next man in the genealogy “just happens” to be JARED, meaning “DESCENT.” This “DESCENT ultimately leads them to be taken into Babylonian CAPTIVITY, and there’s no more KING in ISRAEL. And once again, it looks like the plan of God will not be fulfilled.
But then, all of a sudden, a very “DEDICATED” man comes on the scene. In fact, Jesus said of this man in Matthew 11:11, “Among them that are born, there hath not risen a greater than JOHN THE BAPTIST.” And he has some INSTRUCTION for the Nation of Israel, doesn’t he? He has some “TRAINING UP” to do, as it were!
And just what is it that he’s actually “TRAINING UP,” or PREPARING the people for? Obviously, the FIRST COMING OF CHRIST—the coming of “the MAN of the SWORD!” (Eph. 6:17; Jn. 1:1,14) And the “MAN of the SWORD” (the meaning of the next name in the genealogy, METHUSELAH!) was here on this planet, “full of grace and truth.” (Jn. 1:14)
But when He comes the next time at the SECOND COMING OF CHRIST, it won’t be like that at all! Revelation 19:15 says that the “MAN of the SWORD” will use that sharp sword that goes out of his mouth to smite the nations! Mark 13:26 says He’ll come, not with “grace and truth,” but with “great POWER and glory!” And the meaning of the name of the next man in the genealogy, of course, is LAMECH, which means “POWERFUL!”
And at the second coming of Christ, when He comes in power and smites the nations, putting his enemies under his feet, He will bring in that period of “REST” on the earth that we call MILLENNIUM—which, as we saw yesterday from Genesis 2:1-3, is the THEME of the entire Bible, and that to which all of human history is MOVING!
Wow! How about a God that can take the names of 10 men—and not only preach the message of the entire Bible… but completely unfold the entire history of mankind on the earth?! Note then, that the 10 point outline of history revealed in Genesis 5 is as follows: 1) Creation. 2) Commission. 3) Fall. 4) Nation of Israel. 5) Reign of Solomon. 6) Captivity. 7) John the Baptist. 8) First Coming of Christ. 9) Second Coming of Christ. 10) Millennium.
Note in chapter 6:5,11 and 13 as God describes the sinful days of Noah, that there is not much difference between Noah’s time and ours! He describes it as “wicked…corrupt… violent… and every imagination of the thoughts of man’s heart was only evil continually.” Keep in mind that Jesus said in Matthew 24:37, “But as the days of Noe (Noah) were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
Through Abel’s BLOOD SACRIFICE – Gen. 4:4 (Heb. 9:19-22)
Through Abel’s SACRIFICIAL LAMB – Gen. 4:4 (John 1:29; Heb. 11:4)
In METHUSELAH (meaning “the man of the sword”) – Gen. 5:27 (John 1:1,14; Eph 6:17; Heb. 4:12; Rev. 19:15)