Lamech and Revelation


Noah preparing the ark

In the Aggadah

Most of the legends about Lamech, the grandson of Cain, center around his killing of his grandfather. He was blind and when he went hunting, he was led by his young son Tubal-Cain, who would tell his father when game came in sight, so that Lamech could shoot at it with his bow and arrow. Once he aimed at some horned creature which Tubal-Cain thought to be a beast. In fact it was Cain, the “sign of Cain” being a horn in the forehead, and he killed him. In despair, Lamech smote his hands together inadvertently killing Tubal-Cain. After this incident his wives, Adah and Zillah, wanted to leave him on the ground that Cain’s descendants were doomed to annihilation. But Lamech argued, “If Cain who committed murder with malice aforethought, was punished only in the seventh generation, then, I who have killed inadvertently may hope that retribution will be postponed for 77 generations” (cf. Gen. 4:23). Lamech and his wives put their case to Adam who decided the case in favor of Lamech (Tanh. Gen. 11). According to another tradition, Lamech’s wives refused to have intercourse with him because they knew that a flood was to come and therefore they did not want to bear children. Whereupon Lamech answered “Cain was guilty of murder, yet judgment was suspended in his case for seven generations; for me who am guiltless of this crime, surely judgment will wait 77 generations” (Gen. R. 23:4). Lamech took one wife solely for sexual gratification, and the other for procreation (ibid. 23:2).”

from here:

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0012_0_11781.html

I was trying to think of a theme for VBS, because me and someone else from our congregation were thinking we should just do our own–which is another story.  So I was thinking about the creation, fall, the curse on Adam and Eve, and the promise of the Savior.  This got me thinking about Adam and when he died.  Was he alive when Noah was born?  Answer–he was not.

I think this will be a fun thing to do if there is time, and it will be very good on a number of levels for the church.  The story of the creation is a story of law and fact, and once people start to view it as mythological, it means also that moral law is mythological.  Human beings’ intrinsic worth as having been created with dominion in the image of God is also lost.  Being male and female is also lost and becomes an accident of evolution, so that transgenderism is not a rejection of God who created you male or female, but instead a rejection of an order that could have just as easily gone in a different direction; we could have evolved as asexual beings–it wasn’t God’s will that we be male or female.

Answers in Genesis pointed this out a long time ago.  They are evangelicals, so I can’t praise other parts of their theology.  However, their understanding that waffling on the 1st chapters of Genesis really strips Christianity of its vitality by teaching us to place our faith partly on the Word of God and partly on our reason and senses–they are to be commended for this understanding, which too many Missouri Synod Lutheran pastors don’t have.

Anyway, doing a VBS that deals with creation will do good by teaching the story of creation and also by teaching the sacred account of the origin of human life and the institution of marriage.

As I was reading Genesis 5 and trying to figure out whether Adam was still alive when Adam was born, I noticed that Lamech from the line of Seth lived “777 years”.  This made me think about Revelation and the number of the beast’s name–666.  Then I started noticing some other parallels with the numbers in Genesis.  Noah is the 10th from Adam (in the line of Seth).  10 seems to correspond to “times and half a time” which comes up repeatedly both in Daniel and Revelation; also the church at Smyrna suffers tribulation for “10 days” from Satan.  The beast has “10 horns and 10 crowns.”  Then I noticed that the genealogy of Cain has seven generations, although several of the names are similar between Seth’s and Cain’s lines.  The seventh generation in Seth’s line is Enoch, who is taken to be with the Lord like Elijah.  The tenth generation is Noah, who has three sons–Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

In Cain’s genealogy, Lamech is the 7th from Adam.  He also has three sons: Jabal, Jubal, Tubal-Cain.  And he sings a song to his two wivesadah and zillah and lamech which ends “If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold.”  So Cain’s Lamech does a better job of avenging than God apparently; but the numbers seem to parallel the age of Seth’s Lamech.  The number of Lamech’s vengeance (he claims): 777.  Then God takes vengeance.  One might read it as if Lamech is claiming that he will complete the vengeance God promised to Cain.  If that were so, then the flood would be God avenging Himself after “a little while”, “times and half a time”.  Noah has to endure the wickedness of the earth, but God delivers him after ” a little while;” there are seven generations to Lamech, but a few generations later (long generations, incidentally–it takes Methusaleh and Lamech from Seth’s line 180 years or so to have kids, significantly longer than preceding generations)–God floods the earth in His wrath.

Compare for yourself:

Revelation 13:18 (KJV) “Here is wisdom.  Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.”

Genesis 5:28-32 (KJV) “And Lamech lived an hundred eighty and two years, and begat a son:  And he called his name Noah (i.e. Rest, or Comfort), saying, ‘This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed.’  And Lamech lived after he begat Noah five hundred ninety and five years, and begat sons and daughters:  And all the days of Lamech were seven hundred seventy and seven years: and he died.  And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.”

Genesis 4:19-24 (KJV) “And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.  And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.  And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.  And Zillah, she also bare Tubal-cain, an instructer of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.  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.”

 

 

I don’t really know what it all means, but the patterns are fascinating and there seems to be something in them.  So I decided that I’m going to try to study Revelation this summer, comparing it to the early chapters of Genesis, and I may write about it on here sometimes.  Because it seems like the day is drawing near.  It really does.

 

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