Thursday, December 1, 2022

The Heart of the Torah

Torah Scroll
Torah is a Hebrew word which has more than one meaning. At its core, Torah means teaching or instruction. But it is most often translated as “law” in English Bibles - Bible Hub [1]. Torah has taken on other meanings over time. It is also used to mean the Ten Commandments, or the first five books of the Bible, that is, the five books of Moses. For this article, when I use the word Torah, I am referring to the five books of Moses.

We will be looking for the “heart” of the Torah, but it won't be the mathematical center of the Torah, it will be the thematic center. To do this we will look at the structure of the text to reveal its meaning.

Scholars have come to appreciate the significance of literary structure for determining the meaning of a work: that the form conveys meaning.

This quote and most of the quotes here come from
L. Michael Morales book Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord?  [2].

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Form Conveys Meaning

The form that I'm talking about is the chiasm,
a literary device in which ideas or simply words are presented and then repeated in reverse order. Often, the chiasm will have a center passage which can be the main point, or simply a turning point in a story (Esther is such a story - Luke 810 [3], Chiasmus Exchange [4]). See my blog post Rhythm and Rhyme [5] for an introduction to chiasms in the Bible.

Simple Chiasm

The first thing to notice is that there are five books in the Torah. It's easy to see that Leviticus is the center book. But that's not quite enough for us to jump straight to Leviticus, but yes, we do end up there. Think of Genesis and Deuteronomy like bookends, framing the Torah as a chiasm, these two books end with a patriarch blessing the 12 tribes of Israel (Jacob and Moses). One scholar called them Prologue and Epilogue. Surprising to me is a Jewish custom for children to begin their Torah education in Leviticus, not in the fascinating stories of Genesis or Exodus - Israel Bible  [6].

The chiastic elements are more numerous in Exodus and Numbers, meaning that events in Exodus are mirrored in Numbers in reverse. In broad terms, in Exodus, Israel journeys through the desert TO Sinai. In Numbers. Israel journeys through the desert FROM Sinai.

Smith also points out how the second half of Exodus deals primarily with setting up the tabernacle, while the first half of Numbers is concerned with taking it down, Leviticus itself comprising God’s speeches from the tabernacle. [2]

Not only does Leviticus take place in Sinai, but it takes place in the Tabernacle. The chiasm identifying Leviticus as the center of the Torah shown in Morales' book is eight levels deep.

A Exod. 15:22–25 transformation of water from bitter to sweet
  B 17:1–7 water from the rock
    C 17:8–16 Amalekite–Israelite war
      D 18 leadership relief for Moses
        E 18:27 the Midianite Hobab, Moses’ father-in-law
          F 19:1–2 arrival at Sinai
            G Exod. 40:17 1/1/2 the tabernacle was raised up
              X SINAI and Leviticus
            G' Num. 1:1 1/2/2 the tabernacle of meeting
          F' Num. 10:11–23 departure from Sinai
        E' 10:29–32 the Midianite Hobab, Moses’ father-in-law
      D' 11 leadership relief for Moses
    C' 14:39–45 Amalekite–Israelite war
  B' 20:1–13 water from the rock
A' 21:16–18 the spring

Note the pattern of the chiasm: every item A - G in Exodus is mirrored as G' - A' in Numbers.

*Moses appoints judges in Ex 18 at the suggestion of his father-in-law. He appoints elders at God's command in Num 11.

**That is, Leviticus occurs between these dates  (1/1/2 is shorthand for the first day of the first month of the second year), that is Leviticus takes place during the first month of the second year after leaving Egypt. In a sense, Leviticus is timeless because it has no chronological markers.

I think it's safe to say Leviticus is the center of the Torah.

One third of the way there. Let's apply chiastic analysis to Leviticus itself.

Chiasm Of Leviticus

Leviticus can be divided into seven sections, though scholars will disagree over the exact boundaries of the sections. These seven sections are not of equal size. However, most scholars do agree that the center of the seven sections happens to be the Day of Atonement.

BTW, the mathematical center of the Torah depends on whether you mean the middle chapter, the middle verse, the middle word, or the middle letter. The middle letter is in Lev 8:28 - Kefirah of the Week [7].

God wanted to dwell with his people Israel, and through the book of Leviticus He is showing them how to do that, how to approach Him, how to be reconciled, and then how to dwell with Him. Think of it as a spiritual journey from common to holy. One moves from a state of unclean to clean to holy, with Atonement being the pivot point in the process. Scholars will label the seven sections differently, I like this one that Morales includes in his book.

R.M Davidson diagram of Leviticus

A 1-7 - Sanctuary Laws
  B 8-10 - Priestly Laws
    C 11-15 - Personal Laws
      X 16 - Atonement
    C' 17-20 - Personal Laws
  B' 21-22 - Priestly Laws
A' 23-27 - Sanctuary Laws

In other words: Laws, Laws, Laws ATONEMENT, Laws, Laws, Laws.

One may consider Leviticus in two halves, with chapter 16 serving as the fulcrum. ... The first half deals primarily with the approach to God through blood, while the second half is taken up with life in God’s Presence through increasing holiness, the overall goal being fellowship and union with God. [2]

This reminds me of

Rom 5:10 … we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son , much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Reconciled - Lev 1-15
    Atonement - Lev 16
Saved by His life - Lev 17-27

We can see that Atonement (chapter 16) is the center of Leviticus. Two thirds done. Can we use this chiasm trick once more?

Chiasm of Atonement

Atonement has the most detailed description of any holy day, compare it to the Feast of Trumpets, which is summed up in less than a verse as a memorial of blowing. Atonement is unusual in that the High Priest does almost all the work – sacrificing animals, sprinkling blood, entering the Holy of Holies etc., while the people are told to rest and fast. Morales shows that Leviticus 16, the Atonement chapter, is itself a chiasm. It is a chiasm within a chiasm within a chiasm – Chapter 16 within Leviticus within Torah. The chiasm of Leviticus 16 goes seven layers deep.

FRAME: ‘And YHWH said to Moses . . . ’ (16:1)
  A - Aaron should not go into holy of holies any time he wishes (16:2)
    B - Aaron’s sacrificial victims, special vestment (16:3–4)
      C - Sacrificial victims provided by people (16:5)
        D - Aaron’s bull, goat for sin-offering, goat for Azazel (16:6–10)
          E - Aaron sacrifices bull (16:11–14)
            F - Goat sacrificed as sin-offering (16:15)
              X - Atonement (16:16–20a)
            F - Goat sent to wilderness (16:20b–22)
          E' - Aaron’s closing activities (16:23–25)
        D' - Goat for Azazel, Aaron’s bull, goat for sin-offering (16:26–28)
      C' - People rest and humble themselves (16:29–31)
    B' - Anointed priest officiates wearing special garments (16:32–33)
  A' - Anointed priest makes atonement once a year (16:34)
FRAME: ‘As YHWH commanded Moses . . . ’ (16:34)

*The most holy place inside the tabernacle is called the Holy of Holies. The Atonement ceremony is performed by the holiest person in the holiest place at the holiest time.

**Verses 16-20, between the sacrifice of the two goats, is the heart of the Torah, the center of the innermost chiasm. Summary of vs 16-20 - The High Priest makes atonement for the Holy Place, for the tent of meeting, for himself and his household, and the altar. He purges the holy places from the impurities of the assembly of Israel.

Lev 16:16 He shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the impurities of the sons of Israel and because of their unlawful acts regarding all their sins; and he shall do so for the tent of meeting which remains with them in the midst of their impurities. 17 When he goes in to make atonement in the Holy Place, no one shall be in the tent of meeting until he comes out, so that he may make atonement for himself and for his household, and for all the assembly of Israel. 18 Then he shall go out to the altar that is before the LORD and make atonement for it; he shall take some of the blood from the bull and some of the blood from the goat, and put it on the horns of the altar on all sides. 19 With his finger he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it seven times and cleanse it, and consecrate it from the impurities of the sons of Israel. 20 “When he finishes atoning for the Holy Place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall offer the live goat.

Morales thesis is that Israel went from unclean to clean through the sacrifices and rituals of chapters 1 – 15, then is made holy by the Atonement ceremony of chapter 16, and then gets laws in chapters 17 – 27 on the subject of holy living, that is, living in communion with God. BTW, this material is from chapter 1 of Morales' book.


Let me share some thoughts about the “Heart of the Torah”

The Bible is more organized than I was aware of. When I read about the chiasms in the Torah in Morales's book, I got excited. Whenever I learn something new in the Bible, I want to share it. I only learned about chiasms five years ago, now I learn that the entire Torah is structured like this. I don't think that Moses could have designed it that way. He was recording events as they happened, he couldn't possibly have known that Israel would fight a second war with Amalek, that he would strike the rock a second time, etc. To me, it shows that God Himself is the author, that the Bible is His word. I find these “wonders in His word” to be faith boosters. And you can see it for yourself, in any translation – I did not resort to Hebrew to show the chiasms. Many more chiasms exist in the Torah and the rest of the Bible (1900 of them  [4]) – just do an Internet search to dig deeper.

One other thought I get from this is the importance of Atonement. We have just reviewed the structure that shows Atonement is the heart of the Torah. The way the text is structured (form conveys meaning) shows that it is important to God. It should also be important to us. To learn more about the Day of Atonement, see UCG Bible Study Tools [8]. It is the pivotal ceremony where Israel became holy. It represents the pivotal atoning work of Jesus where all mankind will become holy.

Heb 9:12 “by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.



Thursday, November 10, 2022

Counting The Days

 A few Bible controversies never seem to die, some of them revolve around what day something happened. Here are four such controversies. My goal is to explain my understanding of each one.

  • What day was Jesus Christ crucified?
  • What day did Israel leave Egypt?
  • What day is Pentecost (Shavuot)?
  • What day did Israel cross the Red Sea?

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What day was Jesus Christ crucified?

Most professing Christians  believe Jesus was crucified on a Friday, and was resurrected on a Sunday, as in Good Friday to Easter Sunday. The problem is that Jesus said He would  be in the heart of the earth (dead) for three days and three nights. And this would be the sign that He was the Messiah.

Mt 12:39 And answering He said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, and no sign will be given to it, except the sign of Jonah the prophet. 40 For just as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth three days and three nights.

No one doubts Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights, but when it comes to Jesus in the tomb, many count partial days as whole days, contradicting the plain words of the text. There is a better explanation. 

Jesus was crucified on Passover, which happened to be a Wednesday that year. He died that Wednesday afternoon, and was buried near sunset, and sunset began the Holy Day called the First Day of Unleavened Bread. Three days and three nights later is late Saturday again near sunset. This is the time of His resurrection, but He didn't ascend to Heaven until the next morning. As far as  I know, all Christians agree that He ascended on that Sunday morning.

Mark 15:42 explains the urgency in needing to bury Jesus immediately because that day was the preparation day, that is preparation for the Sabbath. This does not mean the weekly Sabbath which would imply the crucifixion was on a Friday, but it means the First Day of Unleavened Bread, which is made clear in John 19:31.

Mk 15:42  And evening having arrived already, since it was the Preparation, that is, the day before Sabbath,
Jn 19:31  Therefore the Jews, because it was the Preparation, so that bodies would not remain on the cross on the Sabbath--for that Sabbath was a high day--asked Pilate that their legs might be broken and they might be taken away.

While many Christians believe the crucifixion took place on Friday, the well known commentator E. W. Bullinger (1837 to 1913) worked out that it happened on a Wednesday. In Appendix 156 to the Companion Bible, titled "Six Days Before the Passover", Bullinger wrote:

It follows, therefore, that the Lord was crucified on our Wednesday; was buried on that day before sunset; and remained "three days and three nights' in the tomb, as foretold by Him in Matt. 12:40; rising from the dead on the third day', 'the first day of the week'. The fixed days and dates, at either end, hold the whole period as in a vice, and place the whole subject on a sure foundation. Companion Bible, Appendix 156 [1] 

You can read more details at UCG(3days) [2].

What Day Did Israel Leave Egypt?

It is straightforward to determine the day of the Exodus, there are a couple clues that make it possible. Those clues are in the story of the giving of manna, explained in Exodus 16. Arriving in the Wilderness of Sin, the Israelites complained. God heard their complaint and promised them meat that night and bread (manna) in the morning. They received manna for six straight days then on the Sabbath, no manna.  In order to get six days of manna in a row, it had to start on Sunday morning. Therefore, the day they arrived was a Sabbath. which was the 15th day of the second month. 

Ex 16:1 On the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left the land of Egypt, the whole congregation of Israel set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai. 2 And there in the desert they all grumbled against Moses and Aaron.

Ex 16:8 And Moses added, “The LORD will give you meat to eat this evening and bread to fill you in the morning, for He has heard your grumbling against Him. Who are we? Your grumblings are not against us but against the LORD.”


Knowing the 15th day of the second month is a Sabbath, work back to the Exodus. This assumes there are 30 days in the the first month of the Hebrew calendar. Some argue that in the days of Moses, the new month began when the crescent moon was visible, not always 30 days.  It became fixed at 30 days sometime later - months) [3]. Josephus writes that the food they brought from Egypt lasted 30 days, implying Iyar (second month) 15 and a 30 day Nisan - Antiquities Of the Jews [4], line 4401. Working back shows Passover on Tuesday night & Wednesday daytime, and the Exodus on Wednesday night & Thursday daytime. Hebrew days start at sunset.


Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa

             1  2  3

 4  5  6  7  8  9 10

11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Passover the 14th, Exodus the 15th

18 19 20 21 22 23 24

25 26 27 28 29 30



 2  3  4  5  6  7  8

 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Arrive in Wilderness of Sin

16 17 18 19 20 21 22 First week of manna

23 24 25 26 27 28 29


Bullinger in his Companion Bible puts the Exodus on the first day of the week. He says it in Appendix 50, chart 7.1 named "DETAILS OF THE EXODUS WEEK IN 1491 B.C.". Online  versions are hard to read, but he does list the day of the week for every day during Unleavened  Bread, the 15th is labeled "1st day of the week" - Bullinger(App 50) [5]. Some speculate it was because he made the 1st of Nisan the 1st day of the week also, though I haven't found that statement in Bullinger - COGMI(Exodus_6) [6]. I think Bullinger got it right concerning the day of Passover, but not the day of Exodus.

What day is Pentecost (Shavuot)?

This controversy has been around for at least 2000 years. During New Testament times, there were three schools of thought about the day,  the Pharisees,  the Sadducees, and  the Essenes. They all agreed that the count to Pentecost was tied to Unleavened Bread, but differed in details, arriving at different days. The Essenes had their own calendar where every year started on a Wednesday, and believed that the count to Pentecost began with the first Sunday after Unleavened Bread. The Essenes were all killed, and as far as I know, no one today uses their calendar or their method of counting Pentecost.

That leaves Pharisees and Sadducees. Pharisees taught that the count began on the second day of Unleavened Bread, while the Sadducees taught it began on the day after the weekly Sabbath during the Feast. Both claim to be following what is written in Leviticus.

Lev  23:15 You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete Sabbaths

The First Day of Unleavened Bread is a Sabbath, so the Pharisees said to count from the day after, which in the modern Hebrew calendar always falls on Sivan (month 3) 6. The Sadducees said to count from the day after the weekly Sabbath, so the date changes from year to year, though it is always in the third month. Moses and all Israel knew when Moses wrote the Torah, but sometime after that the knowledge got lost. Are there enough clues in the Bible to resolve it? Yes, beginning with the next verse.

Lev 23:16 You shall count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall present a new grain offering to the LORD.

The only way to end up on the day after the Sabbath is to start counting on the day after the Sabbath. The second day of the Feast can occur on any day of the week, so it can't fulfill the requirement of verse 16. It did fall on the day after the weekly Sabbath in 2018, but by coincidence, not design. I have heard Jewish rabbis read verse 16 and change the word "Sabbath" into "week". They know Hebrew way better than me, but I know enough to know that the word there is "Sabbath" - QBible(Lev 23:16) [7]. 

Are there any other clues in the Bible? Yes. Note that the count starts on the day of the Wave Sheaf Offering (verse 15). Note also in verse 14 that the Israelites were prohibited from eating parched grain until the Wave Sheaf Offering.


Lev 23:14 Until this very day, until you have brought in the offering of your God, you shall eat neither bread nor roasted grain nor new produce

But also note that there is a case where Israel ate parched grain on the first day of the Feast.

Josh 5:11 Then on the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and roasted grain

The day after the Passover IS the First Day of Unleavened Bread. And it HAD to be the Wave Sheaf Day, because they were eating the grain. So the count began then, not on the second day like the Pharisees taught. Some have argued that the grain was last year's crop, but parched grain can only come from a freshly harvested crop, not old grain - Nehemiah's Wall(Shavuot) [8].

So, the count to Pentecost, also known as Shavuot, also known as Feast of Weeks, must begin on the day after the weekly Sabbath (Sunday) and end on the day after the weekly Sabbath (Sunday). Most Jews today follow the Pharisee's teaching, but not all. Today's Karaite Jews and the Churches of God agree with the Sadducees of old that the Bible teaches Shavuot is on a Sunday.

What day did Israel cross the Red Sea?

I know of three theories on the subject. 
  • They crossed on the Last Day of Unleavened Bread
  • They crossed on the Fourth Day of Unleavened Bread
  • They crossed after Unleavened Bread

Let me deal with the last theory first. This is promoted by Stephen Rudd in his book  Exodus Route Restored [9]. I have not read his book, but he gives a chart showing the Red Sea crossing 25 days after Passover. He places the Exodus on Thursday, 8 days travel to Succoth, 8 more days to arrive at the Red Sea,  and camping there for 8 days before crossing. While Rudd references Exo 14:6-9 to support his theory, those verses don't say how long they travelled, or how long they camped on the west side of the Red Sea before crossing. So I find this the least convincing theory.

For 8 days Israel camped at the Red Sea crossing point (days 17-24) while Pharaoh's army pursued them with 600 choice horse-drawn chariots Exodus Route [10]

Last Day of Unleavened Bread Theory

Many teach that the Red Sea crossing happened on the seventh (last) day of Unleavened Bread. This includes branches of the Churches of God (other churches don't seem to comment on it), Jews, Messianic Jews, and individuals. Some quotes.

Jewish tradition says they crossed the sea on the seventh day of the Passover week - [11]

Seven days after Israel left Egypt after the first Passover, the new nation went through the Red Sea - [12] 

The Israelites crossed the Red Sea on the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread - [13] 

“Speak to the children of Israel, that they turn and camp before Pi-hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea, opposite Baal Zephon; you shall camp before it by the sea.” This is the start of the 21st day—the last day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread - Don Roth [14].

Fourth Day of Unleavened Bread Theory 

While most branches of the Churches of God teach the seventh day crossing, some offshoots of the Worldwide Church of God (WCG) teach that the crossing happened on the fourth day, which would be on the Sunday that we now call the Wave Sheaf Day or Pentecost. Before 1965, the WCG Correspondence Course "contained no assertions or conclusions about the Israelite's day-to-day passage during that initial seven-day Feast" - COG Eternal [15], HWA Library [16]. In this theory, three days after the Wave Sheaf Day, Israel sacrificed in the wilderness on the seventh day of Unleavened Bread. Num 33:5-8 shows three encampments after Rameses: Succoth, Etham, and Pihahiroth. If each encampment lasts a day, the crossing was Sunday the fourth day. If Israel stayed at Etham for the weekly Sabbath, then travelled south on Sunday, they camped at two unidentified locations Sunday and Monday nights before reaching Pihahiroth, then they crossed on the seventh day. The sacrifice at Marah would have been three days after the Feast of Unleavened Bread. God has a pattern of timing important things on His Holy Days. While both theories have a big event happen on the seventh day (Red Sea crossing or sacrifice in the wilderness), the seventh day crossing theory neglects Wave Sheaf Day and has the sacrifice after the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

I see problems in both theories, fourth and seventh days. One problem in the seventh day theory is textual - it requires two unidentified camp sites that Moses didn't mention. Another problem is the sacrifice at Marah is after Unleavened Bread. One problem in the fourth day theory is logistics - getting a million+ people to walk that far that fast. Knowing the route of the Exodus might resolve the issue, but the scholars don't agree on that. So, like a number of things, do your own research and make up your own mind.

Final Thoughts

Two of these "day" questions have theological implications, two do not. It very much matters what day Jesus was crucified, it means the difference between keeping Passover or keeping Good Friday. And it very much matters what day Pentecost is, it means the difference between keeping it "on the morrow after the Sabbath" or keeping it on Sivan 6 regardless of the day of the week.

As far as I can tell, what day Israel left Egypt and what day they crossed the Red Sea don't change any observances for us today.



Monday, September 5, 2022

The Generations Of Adam

In July 2022, 
Tom Randle (UCG Twin Cities) gave a message called The Generations of Adam [1]. One of the things he discussed was the overlap of the lives of the descendants of Adam to Jacob. And he provided a full color chart showing their life spans. I plan to expand on "The Generations of Adam" by discussing the meanings of their names. Why focus on the names? Names in the Bible are significant. Larry Walker (UCG Medford) discussed names in the Bible in a message titled What's in a Name [2]. One thing he said is “The importance of a name by the Biblical writer can not be overstated.” The Bible often records why a person is given the name they have. It surprised me to learn that according to some scholars, the names of Adam's descendants reveal a message.

If you like this (or not), check out my other articles at the
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Adam's Family

Let's start with the first family.

Adam - means MAN(kind) | Red | One From The Soil | Beginning
Gen 1:26 JPS And God said: 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...
MAN in Gen 1:26 is the Hebrew word AdamAdam is related to Dam, meaning blood, hence the meaning "red". Ha'adam usually means "the man" or "mankind", see Gen 4:1. Adamah is "dirt" or "ground".

 Eve - means LIFE.
Gen 3:20 KJV And Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 
In Hebrew her name was Chavva. She was called Chavva because she was the mother of all Chayya, Hebrew for life.
This is an example where the Bible tells why she was named Chavva.

Cain - means GOTTEN | POSSESSION | ACQUISITION | SMITH, as in Tubal-cain
Gen 4:1 KJV Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, I have acquired a man from the LORD.
The Bible tells us why he was named CAIN.

Gen 4:2 Then she bore again [She continued to bear], this time his brother Abel. 
A familiar verse that mentions Abel is Ecclesiastes 1:2 KJV "Vanity of vanities". In English, it could read "Abel of Abels", or "Breath of Breaths". These don't make sense to me but words can have multiple meanings, and they can change over time.
Strongs 1892 [6] and 1893 [7]

Gen 4:25 And Adam knew his wife again; and she bore a son, and called his name Seth: 'for God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel; for Cain slew him.'
Again we know why he was named Seth. Seth comes from a verb that means put or set.


Before we look at the descendants of Seth, let me show how to look up this info for yourself. Before the Internet, you would need several books. Now it's much easier. [9] - Shows multiple translations of a single verse. Search the Bible or Commentaries for a word or phrase. It also shows the Hebrew, word by word, with hyperlinks to Strong’s Concordance (BibleHub's own). [10] - Gives the Hebrew, transliteration, and KJV. Again with hyperlinks to Strong’s, but a different Strong’s than BibleHub links to, called [11]. [12] - Detailed info on every name and place in the Bible. Lots of research here. Often gives multiple explanations for  name.

Or, just do Internet search for "meaning of names from adam to noah". These will probably be among the results.

The Rest of the Names

Gen 5 gives the descendants from Adam to Noah - Adam, Seth, Enosh, Kenan, Mahalalel, Jared, Enoch, Methuselah, Lamech, Noah. These ten names represent 1600 years of history. We've already looked at Adam and Seth, so starting with Enosh.

Enosh - means |Subject to death/Man(kind) | MORTAL | Weak But Social|
Strongs 583 [15] and 582 [16]

Kenan | Cainan - means |Sorrowful | POSSESSION | Networker, Composer|
It is the same name as Cain with an additional N, how that changes the meaning is unknown.
Strongs 7018 [17] and 7064 [18]

Mahalalel - means |From the presence of God | PRAISE OF GOD|
This is a combination of MAHALAL (Praise) and EL (God). It is similar to HALLELUJAH which means praise God (YHVH). Only one source has "presence of God"
Jared - means |One comes down | DESCENT|
Only one source has "One comes down".
Strongs3382 [20] and 3381 [21]

Enoch - means |Dedicated | Inaugurated | Trained|

Methuselah - means |Dying he shall send | When He Is Dead It Shall Be Sent | When he dies, send it | man of the dart/spear|
Opinions differ on the meaning of Methuselah. The verb מות (mut) means to die or kill. The noun מת (mat) is a word for man. Scholars differ on whether it should be die or man, see below. One compelling fact favoring mut over mat is that the year Methuselah died, God sent the flood. The verb שלח (shalach) means to send. His name appears prophetic, and it could have dual fulfilments, meaning "send the flood" or "send the Holy Spirit".

Lamech naming Noah

Lamech - means |To the poor and lowly | Strong Man For Humiliation | powerful|
The word למך (lmk) does not occur in Hebrew. It could be a combination of le (to) and muk (to be low or depressed) - [24].

Noah - means |REST | COMFORT|
Gen 5:28 When Lamech was 182 years old, he had a son. 29 And he named him Noah, saying, May this one comfort us in the labor and toil of our hands caused by the ground that the LORD has cursed.
In Hebrew, Noah's name is just two letters (N-CH). Spelled backwards, it is CHEN, meaning grace. Gen 6:8 "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD". Noah means REST. Significantly, the competing lineage of Cain, ends up in the land of Nod, which means Restless Wandering.

The Message

I see consensus on the meaning of most of the names, with a few where the experts disagree. A message does seem to emerge by stringing the names together. We will add some connector words to make better sense of it.

Christian Truth Center [27] puts the names together this way 

Man appointed subject to death, sorrowful, from the presence of God one comes down dedicated and dying He shall send to the poor and lowly rest and comfort.

Bible-Codes [28] puts the names together this way 

The God-man is appointed, a mortal man of sorrow is born! The Blessed God shall come down and teach that His death shall bring the grieving comfort and rest.

The Bible Made Plain [29] like this

Man is appointed mortal in his dwelling (earth). The praise of God (Jesus) came down to make disciples, was speared (pierced) by a man, who is unknown, to give rest (to mankind).

Here's my attempt. 

God appointed a man of sorrow. Praise God that a dedicated One shall come down. When He dies, He will send comfort and rest to the grieving. 

Is It True?

I find it interesting to play around with these names to make a story. Is it true? I don't believe there are accidents or coincidences in the Bible. But languages do change over time - consider the difference in English between the KJV and now - KJV Words [30]. That's in 400 years, the names of Adams descendants goes back 6000 years, and that is before the tower of Babel. Many scholars believe that Hebrew was the pre Babel language. The reason is because these very genealogies and place names only make sense in Hebrew. (EG: Eve is the mother of all living doesn't make sense in English). Some words are only used once in the Bible (400 words in the Old Testament are known as hapax legomena [31] meaning "spoken once"), and scholars can't be sure of the meaning of some of them. So we may not know the intended meaning of some of the names, but we do know many because they are given in Scripture. And a message does seem to come through, even using just the names where we ARE certain of their meaning. That message is "gospel-like" depending on one's definition of the gospel.

Bible-Codes [28]  claims that ALL the names from Adam to Jesus tell a story, according to the genealogies given in Matthew and Luke, that's over 70 names. Decide for yourself.

However, it could be a case of finding what we want to find. Hebrew scholars have looked at the names and concluded many of them are improperly translated,

So Is It True? Scholar vs Scholar

Peter Goeman [32], professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages, gives a couple reasons why he doesn't agree with the message in the names. He cites the source as Chuck Missler, who gave this in a lecture in 2013 [33], and in an online Q&A [34], which references a 1999 book by Missler called Cosmic Codes [35]. I don't know if Missler is the source of the idea, (it is the earliest reference I found). He  contends that "the idea that these names combine into secret message is grasping at something that just is not there." He explains that Hebrew word order is different from English, and that the message is different if one follows Hebrew rules. More problematic is that some of the names are mistranslated, which would change the meaning of the message. "The main point is that a translation of the sequence of names presupposes what it attempts to prove, relying on English rather than Hebrew."

Michael Heiser [36], Bible scholar, Author, and Semitic languages expert, also critiqued Missler's message in the names. He too had trouble accepting Missler's interpretation of several of the names. And that the message violated Hebrew rules of grammar. He also points out that the text should be understood according to the author's intent, not ours. More obvious is the question Heiser poses "WHY would God want to encrypt a message that is found elsewhere plainly in sight?"

Final Thoughts

I don't know enough Hebrew to enter this debate, though perhaps I did enter it by bringing it up. While Bible codes and hidden messages may boost the faith of a believer, I doubt that anyone will be persuaded of the gospel because of  them, especially when those messages are already plainly in the text. So, is it true? I have tried to present things so that you can decide for yourself. Perhaps topics like this are distractions from the Scriptures that have a straightforward meaning. Whether it is true or not, Peter asks a more important question.

2Peter 3:11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness?

 Indeed, what sort of people ought we to be?