God always sends PLENTY of warning to all people before judgment comes. We have it for ourselves in the form of the Old Testament prophets and in the sayings of Jesus and his disciples in the New Testament. A beautiful type of this, His mercy and grace, is shown in Methuselah prior to the days of Noah and the flood. It is widely known that Methuselah is recorded in the Bible as the oldest living person ever – living to the ripe old age of 969. What’s in a name you ask?
Methuselah (Mthuwshelach) comes from two Hebrew words:
The first word:
math (Strong’s 4962), which basically means “an adult (as of full length);”. The word is from mathay (Strong’s 4970) meaning: to extend, extent (of time), when
The second word:
shelach (Strong’s 7973) meaning “a missile of attack, i.e. spear; also (figuratively) a shoot of growth; i.e. branch:--dart, plant, put off, sword, weapon.” The root of the word is shalach (Strong’s 7971) which means: to send away, for, or out (in a great variety of applications):-- any wise, appoint, bring (on the way), cast (away, out), conduct, earnestly, forsake, give (up), grow long, lay, leave, let depart (down, go, loose), push away, put (away, forth, in, out), reach forth, send (away, forth, out), set, shoot (forth, out), sow, spread, stretch forth (out).
So this guy’s name essentially says: “When I am dead, God’s judgment will come!”
We can prove from the Bible, by the time lines of Adam’s lineage, that this is true.
Enoch (the seventh from Adam) is 65 years old when his son Methuselah is born (Genesis 5:21). Methuselah is 187 years old when his son Lamech is born (Genesis 5:25). Methuselah dies when he is 969 years old (Genesis 5:27). Lamech is 182 years old (Methuselah is now 369) when his son Noah is born (Genesis 5:28). Then the Bible says that Noah was 500 years old when he had his sons Shem, Ham and Japheth (Genesis 5:32). This puts Methuselah at 869 years old. At this point, Genesis 5, the chapter on Adam’s pre-flood lineage ends and we begin the ill-fated Genesis chapter 6. At the beginning of chapter 6 we learn about how the host of heaven (God’s angelic created beings), crossed the boundaries of created life types (angelic, human and animal) and made physical, sexual contact with humans and animals. This was no doubt occurring throughout the verses of chapter 5 but God’s grace was upon the part of the lineage from Enoch down through Noah (four generations). Obviously, this also pertained to the animal domain as well because later we see that Noah was told to bring both “clean” and “unclean” animals into the ark (Genesis 7:2). In Genesis 6:10, in the midst of the description of the reprobation of mankind and God’s instructions to Noah, he repeats the fact that Noah begat his three sons (Genesis 6:10). Then we read in Genesis 7:6: “And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.” This puts Methuselah at 969 years old and DEAD – because we know that 1.) He dies and 2.) He was not on the ark. This also tells us that the ark was being prepared for roughly 100 years.
So we can picture this Methuselah walking around the earth all those long years, bearing a name that cries out: “When I am dead, God’s judgment will come!”. Also, factor in Noah preaching this for nearly 100 years, preaching which contained the testimony of prophecy that was handed down from Enoch. Still, only eight people made it on that ark. This has given me pause to be re-convicted about what it means to ‘die daily in Christ’ (1st Corinthians 15:31). I have not been dying daily enough lately. I pray for us all to take on the name Methuselah.