We have already followed the development of God estranged humanity, through the line of Cain. The primary characteristics of that part of Adam’s family, was the attempt to mitigate the Curse of God ,without repentance; by means of the development of agriculture, animal husbandry, metallurgy and of music and the arts .
In spite of the remarkably swift cultural, agricultural and technological advances in Cain’s seed, we see also the steady spiritual and moral disintegration of marriage, the family, and human culture in the brief view given in Genesis 4.
Lamech boasts to his two wives, in the first recorded song, of his cruelty and prowess. He would avenge himself over a personal slight, in a greater scale than God would avenge those who hurt Cain! Thus the line of Cain starts with a will worshipping murderer, but develops into a culture of polygamy, blasphemy, violence, self worship and murder!
What about the other line? How did it fare with the seed of Seth, the substitute son, who followed the faith of the murdered Abel? We have already been told that it was in the days of Seth, at the birth of his son Enos(Frail), that men first to gather together to call upon the name of the LORD.
And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the Lord.(Genesis 4:25-26)
As Pember states of the contrast between the two lines ,” But when we turn to Seth’s posterity, the scene changes. Envyings, strifes, and deeds of liscence and violence are no longer before us: our ears cease to to be assailed with the lowings of herds,the strains of soft music used for thr soothing of uneasy consciences; the clatter of the anvil, the vauntings of proud boasters, and all of the mingled din which arises from a world living without God, and struggling to overpower His curse…(Earth’s Earliest Ages,Kregel publishing GH Pember)
The Cainite line was definitely what we could call worldly. They had launched out on their own, to create a civilization without God, or his input. Being men made in the Image of God, they utilized their mastery over creation through technology. But being fallen creatures, their use of technology and the arts could not compensate for the violence, hatred, and lust which raged in their hearts. But in the other line, that of Seth ,
… we see a poor people and afflicted;toiling day after day to procure food from the ungenial soil, according to their God’s appointment, patiently waiting til He should be gracious, and humbly acknowledging his chastening hand upon them. They have no share in earth’s history; that is entirely made up of Cainites. As strangers and pilgrims they abstain from fleshly lusts.They build no cities, they invent no arts, they devise no amusements,They are not mindful of that country in which they live,but seek a better, that is a heavenly…”(ibid)
The sequence of names in this genealogy itself is a prophecy. Each name has a meaning, and when the meanings are put together, a message from God emerges which speaks to all of those whose faith has made them into pilgrims, seeking a “city whose builder and maker is God”, like the children of Seth.
Cainan (Kenan) -Sorrow (Elegy)
Mehalaleel-The Blessed God
Enoch – initiate
Methuselah- His death shall bring
Lamech- the despairing
Thus the very genealogy of Adam through the line of Seth is a prophetic sentence,”Man (was) appointed (to) Mortal Sorrow,(but) the Blessed God shall come down, teaching (that) his death shall bring the despairing rest!”.
A few of the names of this godly line stand out, particularly at the end, as the line of Seth began itself to fade into accommodation and ultimate dissolution into Cain’s line, and to fall under Divine judgment.
Enoch was the first of a line of four prophets. He is said in Hebrews 11 to have “walked with God, and was not, for God took him”. In an age of unbelief, defection and exponentially accumulating evil, this man walked with God, preaching righteousness, and warning men of the judgment to come. But suddenly Enoch was raptured!
Enoch had previously been given a vision, not of the Deluge, but of the final return of the Lord in glory and of the judgment upon the ungodly,
And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.(Jude 14-15)
The Son of Enoch, Methuselah, had a name which was itself a prophecy. “When he goes it comes…” or “His death shall bring…”, bring what? The flood that Enoch, Methuselah and Lamech had been warning about came to pass on the very year that Methuselah died.
But Methuselah had this distinction also, he lived longer than anyone else had ever lived, 969 years. This is a testimony to the patience and love of God, who “is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance”. As long as people could behold Methuselah, they could know there was yet time to turn to God in humble repentance.
Lamech named his Son, “Noah”,which means ,”rest”, prophesying that
…This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed.(Genesis 5:29)