Summary: The name Methuselah means “When he dies, judgment”. It’s a prophetic name. Methusaleh was the oldest man who ever lived indicating that God held off judgment till the last minute.
1. Genesis 5 - When he dies it shall be sent
My grandmother lived until she was 108. Now that is a long life! At 90 I remember her going on expeditions with a lapidary club. She loved collecting rocks and climbing mountains and walking for incredible distances. She would talk about the old people in the nursing home in which she lived. They were younger than she was!
In Genesis 5 people seem to live for an incredibly long time. Like Adam, who lives for 930 years. And Methusaleh for 969 years, the oldest man who has ever lived. That’s impossible?!!! Well actually it’s not. According to Larry Richards, medical researchers now know that many if not most human diseases are genetic, caused when malfunctions occur in the duplication of the human genetic code. The wonder is not so much that they lived so long in the days when genetic deterioration was at it’s earliest stages. The wonder is how do we remain healthy enough in our lives to live as long as we do so many years later! The bible says we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14)
Adam dies physically and the sad thing about that is that originally he was designed to live forever. But he sinned and death came into the world. God had promised that if he ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil then he would die. It took 930 years but the promise of death was fulfilled in full. He had known good before eating of the tree but now he knew what it was to disobey God and so he knew now what evil was. Along with this knowledge he immediately died spiritually in terms of his relationship with God and he began to die physically. Why didn’t God just put an end to his physical life immediately? Perhaps it was to give him time to repent and to teach his sons the lessons he had learned. We are not told.
Notice Cain is not mentioned in this genealogy. That suggests to me that this is a specific family line up to Noah. It suggests that this is the godly line, those who, as it says at the end of chapter 4, “began to call upon the name of the Lord”. This is not a full genealogy. The same method of writing a genealogy is used of Jesus line. Some people were missed out for the sake of emphasizing others.
And what about Enoch who it says “walked with God; and he was not, for God took him” after he had lived 365 years (Genesis 5:24). What is that all about? Well he obviously had a close relationship with God, but before reaching the end of his life God just took him physically to heaven. Why? I don’t know! I’m just a Pastor! Give me a break! I don’t know everything! I just thought I’d mention it because it is interesting. The same thing happened with Elijah in 2 Kings 2:11, only he seemed to go with more flair in a whirlwind.
Some suggest that God took them before death because He wasn’t finished with their ministry yet. They say that they will be the two witnesses in the last days. The bible makes it clear that “it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27). So Enoch and Elijah have not died yet apparently and the Bible says Elijah will return to the earth to preach again (Malachi 4:5,6). That’s so weird! Then we have those who died more than once like Lazarus who was raised from the dead, only to die later on of course.
But getting back to Enoch and Elijah. So maybe these are the guys that appeared to the women at the resurrection (Luke 24:4) and to the disciples as they gazed up into the sky as Jesus ascended into heaven (Acts 1:10). And as I said, maybe they will be the 2 witnesses that appear in the last days in Jerusalem. Zechariah 4:14 speaks about "two anointed ones who are standing by the Lord of the whole earth." Could be the same guys waiting for the events of Revelation to occur. Revelation 11:7-12 says the 2 witnesses are men, not angels. Are you intrigued? I am. So follow it up for yourselves because I only have time left to speak about one more guy who appears in this chapter – Methusaleh.
Methusaleh got into the Guiness book of Records as the man who lived the longest. He lived 969 years, beating my grandmother by a long shot. His name Mehusaleh means “When he dies, it shall be sent”. Sounds like “If you build it, they will come” from the movie “Field of Dreams”. Enoch knew something prophetically and named his son Methusaleh “when he dies, it shall be sent”. God obviously told him something about the coming flood. The flood would judge the earth and God uses Methusaleh to give a warning. Strange thing to do – to name your son to be a prophetic warning to the people of the day that judgment was coming. But other prophets in the Bible did the same thing.