Posts tagged “Messiah

Genesis 4:17-5:31, The Two Enochs and the Two Lamechs

In my last post I described “profaning the name of YHVH” as the gateway transgression, after which come all other transgressions.  As we read about this profaning, or polluting, of the Name (which could literally be understood as YHVH’s reputation, or legacy), it’s sandwiched between Cain’s geneaology – which ends with multiple blasphemies and evils spoken by Lamech – and Seth’s geneaology – which ends with stressful words of the other Lamech, who was the father of Noah.

The former Lamech is fifth from Cain, but the latter Lamech is seventh from Seth.  Thus, Cain’s ancestral line (at least, our written record of it) ends abruptly, but I believe this is completely by design.

This was recorded for our benefit, so that Mankind can be portrayed in that pre-Flood world as one “Lamech” or the other.  Ever prophetically speaking to us, the Bible shows that all descendants of Adam – whether they hail from Cain’s line or Seth’s – had reached their personal breaking point of “Lamech”, for better or for worse.  The former Lamech spouts off elitist and violent words, while the latter Lamech agonizes over the stress and adversity of life.  There are no other quotes in either genealogy, except from these two who share a namesake.

This is no accident; both men’s words show how Mankind had shifted to two extremes – one to the uber-violent while the other became ultra-oppressed.

Adam and Eve attempted to raise their children to be righteous as Abel was righteous, by Eve’s own admission (cf. Genesis 4:25).  However, just two generations later, Mankind as a whole “began to profane the name of YHVH.” Therefore the question becomes: ‘how did the descendants of Seth stray?’  By all appearances, Cain’s descendants reached the point of ‘Lamech’ within five generations, while Seth’s ancestors reached their tipping point in seven.  Thus it appears that Cain’s ancestors were on a fast track to perdition, while the descendants of Seth gradually followed the influences of Cain’s descendants.  This is exactly what I believe Genesis 5 shows (aside from the genealogy of Seth of course).

Anyone can spot that some of the names are common between the two geneaologies.   My question is, why?  I don’t believe in biblical coincidences; I think that such “coincidences” are invitations to dig deeper, so let’s shovel some ideas.

The first similarity is the name “Enoch”, which first appears as the name of Cain’s son, who became the namesake of a fortress Cain was building at the time (cf. Gen. 4:17).  That must’ve been some fortress, because there’s a chance that Enoch – a descendant of Seth – was named after it. (Gen. 5:18). Now I realize that’s complete speculation, but at any rate, Enoch might’ve been named after a fortress of Cain, but he definitely didn’t go the “way of Cain” – he “walked with God, and was not, for God took him.” (Gen. 5:24).

Assuming that Enoch was named after an impressive fortress, the fact remains, Enoch broke from the trajectory the rest of his peers were headed towards.  The very fact that Enoch “walked with God” is an indication that his contemporaries were not; they were more concerned with fortresses, their fields, eating and drinking, building harems, and so forth (cf. Gen. 5:28, 6:2; Matt. 24:37-38).  And who was Enoch’s most famous contemporary?  That’s right, it was Lamech, the violent entrepreneur in the line of Cain. (For an explanation of why Lamech was so famous, read this recent post).

Seth’s genealogy includes ages as benchmarks, and if we do the math, Enoch was still alive to see the birth of his grandson, which was a brisk 113 years before he taken.  However, the name given to his grandson was “Lamech”.  Thus this a hint that Enoch’s son Methusaleh was inspired by… the violent entrepreneur, even as his father was demonstrating intimacy with the One True God.

I like to imagine that God was so want of intimacy with men in those days that He literally took it where He could find it – in this case, the soul of Enoch.  Clearly no one else was joining Enoch in his walk, in fact it appears that in those days Enoch’s relatives were looking to the successes of Cain’s line, as well as the other distractions mentioned by both Moses (Gen.  6:1-5) and especially Messiah Yeshua:

As the days of Noah were, so will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ship, and they didn’t know until the flood came, and took them all away…” (Matthew 24:37-39)

It wasn’t that these men were necessarily egregious in their sins.  As a collective whole, mankind was certainly violent and sensuous, but in the end, they all died because “they didn’t know” (as Messiah is quoted above).   They could have known, had they followed Enoch’s example, but it appears no one wanted to know except God, so God took him.

There will come a time again when we will have a chance to be taken, but if we envy successful people while ignoring their injustices done to others, or are preoccupied with entertainment, our careers, working, the opposite sex, and anything else aside from doing God’s will, we too will miss our Enoch moment, and perish like those in the Great Flood. ◊

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Genesis 4:23-24, Why Lamech’s Words Must Be Understood

In my last post I addressed the oxymoron of Cain “settling down” in a “land of wandering” and identified God’s riddle: if you’re apart from the Presence, it doesn’t matter how you reinvent yourself – you’re “wandering”.

Although Cain and his descendants appeared to be somewhat successful, it’s only according to the success of this life.  In the end, Cain’s lineage couldn’t separate themselves from the “way of Cain” (James 1:11). They would all ultimately drown in the Great Flood.  The last words we hear from Cain’s descendants are from a man named Lamech, the fifth from Cain:

And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.   (Genesis 4:23-24, KJV)

[Note: Several Bible translations offer “wounding” and “hurting” as past progressive verbs, but in Hebrew these words are not in verb form. Additionally, there are attempts to portray that Lamech smote a man due to a cause, i.e. “for my wound”; if that were the case, we’d expect the Hebrew kiy – which indicates a causal relationship.  However, the –l proclitic is used instead which indicates an action toward something. Therefore, I think the KJV’s translation and others like it are correct. ]

God allowed Lamech’s words for a reason, even if they seem completely out of place.  After all, these are the only words recorded from any of Cain’s descendants.  Could Lamech’s words be an out of place signal – like a road flare on a dark country road -designed to get our attention?

I believe they are. So let’s slow down and understand how God is warning us through Lamech’s words.

Understanding the context, Lamech’s speech occurs right after the Bible reveals how successful his three sons had become.  They were innovators who changed the world – rapidly, within one generation (vv. 20-22).  They taught men a better way to acquire wealth: they taught the dwelling in mobile tents instead of fixed fortresses which allowed for flocks and herds,  smithing metal into specific tools advancing agriculture and (perhaps) weaponry, and even taught entertainment through music and song – a respite from “the toil and stress of life” (ref. Gen. 5:29).

So these men became the “father of” an innovation and profession, which influenced the entire world.  But the one to benefit the most from their successes was… Lamech, the “father of the fathers of”!  He was likely well respected – so much so that Methuselah – a contemporary to Lamech’s three sons – might have named his own son “Lamech” in honor of Cain’s descendant (cf. Gen. 5:25).  So it’s likely Lamech was an influential man, and it’s therefore important to know what kind of man he was.

So when examining Lamech’s words to his wives, the first thing we must understand these are Lamech’s words – not the Almighty’s.  He said, “hear my voice… harken to my speech.”  Lamech is not prophesying.  Quite the contrary, actually. These are words that reveal the type of man he was, which is why God gave us them.

Lamech smote a young man of some stature, enough to make Lamech reasonably expect some level of retribution.  But Lamech never regretted murdering someone – he regretted that his victim might be avenged!  In other words, Lamech reacted like his forefather Cain, but this is not just Cain 2.0 – Lamech is far worse.  While Cain seemed resigned to his fate, Lamech promoted additional violence on top of his original murder! Indeed, Lamech was a diabolical character, a violent tyrant who would never face his guilt.

So in effect, Lamech instructs his two wives – the mothers of his three influential sons – to direct the family’s power toward such a vengeance that would make God’s wrath seem weak.  We don’t know if Lamech believed those words God once spoke over Cain, but it does seem like he’s mocking them, as if he could exceed God’s punishment by inventing more grandiose ways to destroy people.  So even if Lamech believed that YHVH God existed, he didn’t fear Him.  In fact, the brutal tyrant blasphemed God.

So now we understand Lamech’s words in their proper context.  Now let’s interpret them as a warning to future generations.

There are two lessons to learn from Lamech’s life, and they’re actually primers for the foundations taught in the Torah, reinforced by the Prophets, and solidified by Messiah Yeshua and His apostles.

The first lesson is: those with much destroy those with little.  These powerful types may not always destroy lesser-thans in a physical sense, but they nevertheless devour through threats, extortion, frivolous lawsuits, slanders, persecutions, and many other abuses of power.  The second lesson is connected to the first:  The rich and powerful own justice, too.  In other words, after the haves abuse the have-nots, and the abused cry out for justice, those have-nots are exterminated “seven and seventy” times over.

There is an oft-repeated torah that forbids perverting justice for the poor (e.g. Exo. 23:6, Lev. 19:15, Deut. 16:19), and should we forget those commandments, they’re rehashed throughout the Prophets (Isa. 1:17, Jer. 5:28 et al).  Following suit, Messiah Yeshua taught that justice was one of the weightier matters of the Law (i.e. Matt. 23:23).   In short, justice is important to God, evidenced by His teaching of it throughout all of time.

So Lamech’s life is marred by the same injustices and transgressions which provoked God’s judgment of the pre-Flood world.  For example, Lamech’s wives’ names suggest beauty (Adah = adorned; Tzillah = respite), as does his daughter’s (Naamah = beautiful). Comparatively, the judgment before the Flood was “the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were beautiful” (Gen. 6:2).  Lamech was also one of those who took multiple wives, (Gen. 6:2) and Lamech’s violent murder  fits the bill for “the earth was corrupt in the sight of God, and the earth was filled with violence.” (Gen. 6:11)  Indeed, Lamech’s life exemplifies every judgment of the pre-Flood world.

So now we know Lamech’s life and words in context, and he seems to exemplify everything God detested about that pre-Flood civilization.

What we know so far is:

Lamech was the ‘father of the fathers of’, a highly influential man.
Lamech was a brutal and diabolical man.
Lamech blasphemed God.
Lamech’s life exemplified every judgment of the pre-Flood world.

With this knowledge, I interpret Lamech’s speech as a warning of “the beginning of the End.”

There are even more prophetic clues bringing clarity to Lamech’s words; see if you can find them!   The clues begin right after Lamech’s speech in Genesis 4:24, and end with the judgments I’ve already mentioned in Genesis 6.  In the meantime, ask yourself the following questions:

How did Seth get his name?
Two family lineages are listed (Cain’s and Seth’s).  Who was Lamech’s contemporary?
Does the Bible offer any hints at how influential and respected Lamech was?
What happens when brutal tyrants are highly respected?
What did Messiah Yeshua say of the Pre-Flood world? How does that compare to Lamech’s family?

If we answer these questions, we will not only understand Lamech’s words in context, but understand them prophetically as a warning of the beginning of our end as well. ♦

Genesis 4:9, If You Can’t Love Your Brother, How Can You Love Your Brethren?

The LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel, your brother?” He said, “I don’t know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” (Genesis 4:9)

After Cain smote his brother Abel, God begins to interrogate Cain even though He already knew the right answer (I’ve already written about why God would do this here).

It doesn’t surprise me that an all-knowing God asks questions of men, but what does surprise me is all the chatter over how Cain killed Abel.  Apparently it’s something inquiring minds want to know, but I think any investigation to uncover the murder weapon is just following a red herring.  The truth is, the weapon would’ve been included in the text had it been something we NEED to know.  That being said, there is one way we can uncover the lesson here that YHVH, the King of the Universe, wants our puny human minds to grasp.

If we read the text in Hebrew and identify trends in any words used repetitively, we can reduce some of our speculation.  It just so happens there is one word here that sticks out like a sore thumb, not just in this highlighted verse (of Genesis 4:9) but throughout the whole chapter.  That Hebrew word is “akhi”, the word for “brother”.  In the verses concerning Cain and Abel, akhi appears seven times (yes, there “seven” is again).  In fact, after YHVH asks, “Where is Abel your brother (akhi)?”, God ONLY refers to Abel as “your brother”.

The simple answer is that God isn’t concerned with us identifying the murder weapon. What He wants us to understand is that Cain targeted his akhi, his flesh and blood.

In response to God’s question (which is literally “Where did Abel your brother go?“), Cain literally responds, “the keeper of my brother is… me?” (If he would have said ‘Am I my brother’s keeper’ as is traditionally translated we’d expect shamartiy or shamartiy-o, as in the literalDo I keep my brother?). In other words, from my chair it looks like he’s implying “you’re laying this on me!?”  I believe this is fitting for Cain, the quintessential narcissist, who responds to adversity by eliminating the competition.

There is a big change from the backstory of Abel’s life once Abel’s sacrifice was looked upon by God.  Whereas at first Abel was almost an afterthought, Adam and Eve suddenly changed their minds and began to see the younger Abel as the seed to carry out God’s favor (cf. Gen. 4:25).  So when Abel gained this newfound favor by both God and their parents, Cain – as a narcissist – probably assumed that he lost their favor.

Thus Cain’s response “the keeper of my brother is me!?” might be understood with an air of both jealousy and insidiousness.  Cain thought everyone else was Abel’s keeper… everyone except himself, that is.  Cain’s unspoken narrative here is ‘You, O God, accept him, my parents favor him now… if you all love him so much, why didn’t you all protect him – why are you looking at me?)  Yes, I believe this reads like Cain was testing God, to see if YHWH would deliver Abel when Cain attacked him!

Cain failed to understand is that there was no reason to be enraged, as God told him (cf. 4:6).  The favor that comes from both God and parents isn’t a competition. Favor is meant to be shared; it’s not an exclusive entitlement!  I think this is the parshat (simple) and fundamental message of this early Scripture – a common truth that anyone reading the Bible would hopefully learn right away:  If you don’t love and preserve your brothers and sisters, you won’t have a home to come home to.  Like Cain, you will be a wanderer in the earth. You will ruin your life, and will set back the lives of your family as well.  As we continue to read this story, that’s exactly what we find.  Cain ruined his life and set back what his parents were hoping to accomplish.

And now for the prophetic implications of this verse.

The crux of the whole of Scripture, and the crux of what Messiah taught is:  you will not receive God’s favor if you are at odds with your greater “brethren”.  ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ is well known throughout Scripture, but the spiritual implication is: if you can’t love and shomer (keep/watch over/preserve/protect) your mother’s son who is your akhi, how could you love your neighbor who is also your “akhi”?  In other words, with the Cain and Abel story, God prepares everyone to love his family that he may grow up to love his neighbors… even the brethren… our fellow believers in the Kingdom of God.  In fact, there is one akhi in particular that we are to cherish and keep.

In Psalms 22:22, David foresaw that the Messiah is THE akhi, who says in the Spirit: “I will recount Your Name to my brethren (akhi) in the great congregation.” Of course, the entirety of Psalm 22 depicts Messiah as being surrounded by the wicked, pierced feet and hands, with great thirst – basically, everything that occurred at Yeshua’s final Passover when the great congregation was assembled for a major feast (cf. Exodus 23:17)- we also see this word “akhi” to describe how Messiah viewed Israel as his brethren, his family.

So Messiah Yeshua was an akhi to Israel as Abel was to Cain… and like Abel, the favored One was murdered.

Psalms 22 reads He trusts in Yahweh; let him deliver him. Let him rescue him, since he delights in him” (vs. 8).  In other words, David foresaw that Israel would treat Messiah the same way Cain treated Abel – “I’m not his keeper… why didn’t You, O God, deliver him from my hand?”

And like Cain, Israel was allowed to survive… into a period of wandering, with a declaration that none should harm Israel if they find him, and so forth…  a great topic for another time. Ω

Genesis 3:7-8, Adam and Eve’s Armor

…and they sewed leaves of the fig, and prepared for themselves [chagorot]. And they heard the sound of YHVH Elohim moving toward the breaking of the day… (Gen 3:7-8)

Most Bible translators favor “aprons” here for the rare Hebrew word chagorot, but in its other appearances, chagorot refers to body armor worn by military-aged males (cf. 2 Kings 3:21, 2 Sam. 18:11). Its verb form, chagar (“to gird, to cover”), describes one covering himself with either sackcloth or armor (so the case could be made that one actually “arms” himself with sackcloth). However, every occurrence of chagar, whether in noun or verb form, appears in contexts of adversity. It’s certainly not a word for peacetime!

Some of the final words of King David illustrate this perfectly:

You know what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, specifically to the two captains of Israel… whom he slew, and shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war on the [chagorah] around his loins, and on the sandals of his feet.” (1 Kings 2:5)

Yoav-ben-Tzeryahu (Joab son of Zeruiah) was a man of war, so much so that he didn’t know when to retire his armor and listen to his king’s will. Yoav was ever seeking conflict, so the chagorah was the apparel which suit him.

Am I saying that Adam and Eve sewed armor for themselves all night long with the expectation to ambush Almighty God at daybreak? No, I’m not! I think that a word used later in Genesis 3, khetonet (“garment”) might actually describe what Adam and Eve literally tried to make for themselves. However, by God inspiring the war-word chagorot, we get a figurative glimpse of the de facto stance of human beings toward Almighty God, beginning here with Adam and Chavah (Eve).

In other words, it’s in our nature to make war with God, as we prepare “armor” for ourselves in order to resist Him. I speak of pride, which against God is as durable as intertwined fig leaves which are withered and gone with the wind. For like our ancestors Adam and Chavah (Eve) experienced, Almighty God will suddenly appear, and we will also make an account of our works. We will be likewise be naked, armed with only our words which will justify or condemn us (cf. Matthew 12:37).

It would seem our ancestor Adam DID resist Almighty God at the battleground of judgment! His words came from a place of fear, but that is a typical emotion for a conflict, is it not? Adam said:

“That woman, whom YOU put with me….” (vs. 12, emphasis mine)

These are words of war! Adam meant, ‘I didn’t do anything! It was THAT woman, and it’s YOUR fault because YOU put her here with me.’ First, Adam sells out his ally (Chavah) and then hurls accusations against God Himself!

You see, Adam may have sewn physical armor of porous leaves, but his spiritual armor was even poorer. And this armor is still worn today by the billions who blaspheme and accuse Almighty God for their sins and consequences, as well as their circumstances. This pride of life is the armor which blames God for everything and anything.

Had YHVH thought as a fallen man, He would have aborted the entire human race as an inconvenience and started over! However, unlike humans who declare war against Him every day, God instead made for them khetenot (coats) – prototypes of the coats of many colors worn by Joseph and David’s daughters (Gen. 37, 2 Sam. 13:18), but especially the priestly coats worn by Aaron and his sons (Exod. 28, 29; Lev 8 et al).

In other words, though our nature deceives us to be God’s enemy, God instead perceives us as priests and royalty.

Though it may have been too early to utter the words “I love you” we can look through our history on times that God demonstrated tremendous acts of love, including the making of these pre-priesthood coats for the father and mother of us all.

Especially now that Messiah Yeshua has explicitly shown how much God loves us, we understand that He still wants a kingdom of priests (Exod. 19:6, 1 Pet. 2:9, Rev. 1:6). We can look at the journey and understand why God gave us a chance at life, even though we come from the womb preparing to make war with Him. ♦