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.

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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?