Friday, June 13, 2014

… And He Died

When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters.  Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.  (Gen 5:21-24)

People often look at chapter 5 of Genesis and are amazed at how long everyone lived. Yet the point of the chapter is not the long lives, but the death which man cannot avoid.  Even though men lived much longer, death reigned over them.  Men still pursue long life but cannot avoid death.  God had created men to live but human rebellion brought only death instead of a better way of life.

Why does death hold us so fast?  We are bound fast by God’s that we are dust and to dust we shall return.  What is to free us from this sentence of death?  Our only hope is in the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, who was willing to become one with us to free us from the curse of the Law.  Jesus subjected Himself to the power of death that through Him death might be destroyed.  No descendant of Adam could free himself from the power of death, yet Christ, the Second Adam, came to give us life.

In the midst of all this death, Enoch is born in the seventh generation as a message of hope.  In this “generation of the Sabbath,” God gives rest to a son of Adam who is under the curse.  Enoch, whose name means “one trained up” (like a child in Prov. 22:6) or “dedicated” (like the temple in 1 Kings 8:63), has been taught to trust in  the Promise.  Enoch walked with God, that is, he lived by faith in the righteousness of the coming Savior, as did Noah (6:8-9) and Abram (15:6).  Enoch’s 365 years remind us of the days in each year and how quickly the days of our lives pass away.  Here God promises that the days of our lives are numbered and He will give true rest from all our labors.  God takes Enoch’s body away from the grip of death to testify that our bodies are His temple, set apart in Holy Baptism.  In this one man we see the abundance of the grace of God revealed.  This grace of God is now graciously extended to all men through the one Man, Jesus Christ.  The shortness of the days of Enoch reminds us that real life is only given through faith in this one Man who conquered death by His own death.

Enoch’s son, Methuselah, is not to be envied.  The length of his days only returns him to the burden of sinful existence and death.  Methuselah means “the sent male.”  Enoch had sent his son to proclaim the news of God’s grace, just as Jesus sent out his ministers of the Gospel to proclaim salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone.  The “good news” for Methuselah was not his 969 years but the saving grace of God in Christ for eternity.

Karl Fabrizius, Gottestiendst, Vol. 22.1

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