The Royal Line Established

Chapter 6

After Abel’s death, Adam had another son whom he named Seth. The name Seth signified “appointed,” or “compensation.” Seth, who had an excellent character and lived the kind of life Abel would have, had he lived, took Abel’s place as the heir of the divine promise, the successor of the spiritual birthright. Throughout his lifetime, he served and honored God, laboring to turn the minds of others to reverence and obey their Creator.

After he was cursed by God, Cain had left his father’s household, going out to seek his possessions and enjoyment in the earth under the curse of sin. Leaving his first occupation as a tiller of the soil, he went on to found a city which he named after his first son. Cain and his descendants became well known for acquiring that which the world considers to be important, but they were unmindful of God and opposed His purposes for man. Abel had led a rural life, living in tents or enclosed areas; and the children of Seth followed the same course. They considered themselves “strangers and pilgrims on the earth,” seeking “a better country, that is, an heavenly.” Hebrews 11:13, 16

For a period of time, the two classes remained separate from each other. The family of Cain, as it spread from the place of their first settlement, scattered over the plains and valleys where the children of Seth had lived. In order to escape from the corrupting influence of those who were opposed to God and His truth, the family of Seth withdrew, making their homes in the mountains. As long as they remained separate, they continued the worship of God in its purity. As time passed, however, they began, little by little, to associate with the people of the valleys. This friendship resulted in no good. “The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair.” Genesis 6:2. The children of Seth, attracted by the beauty of the daughters of Cain’s children, displeased the Lord by intermarrying with them. Many of the worshipers of God were led into sin by the temptations that were now constantly before them, losing their high principles and conforming to the worldly standard of their friends and associates. Growing together with the corrupted, they became like them in spirit and in manner. Fixing their minds upon worldly prosperity and enjoyment, they disregarded the commandments of the Lord. Men, “when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” Romans 1:21. “Therefore God gave them over to a mind void of judgment.” Verse 28, (margin). Sin spread through the earth like a deadly disease.

For nearly a thousand years, Adam lived to witness the results of sin. Faithfully he tried to turn the tide of evil. He had been commanded to teach his children the way of the Lord; and he carefully held dear what God had revealed to him, repeating it to following generations. To his children and children’s children, to the ninth generation, he described man’s holy and happy home in Paradise. Often he repeated the history of his fall, telling them of the things he had suffered, by which God had taught him the need of strict obedience to His Law. He explained to them the merciful provisions for their salvation. Yet there were but few who paid attention to his words. Often he was met with bitter reproof for his sin that had brought such sorrow upon succeeding generations.

In the days before the Flood, the opportunities for gaining both religious and scientific knowledge were unrivaled. As the years of men’s lives have since decreased, so their physical and mental strength have diminished. There are men who now apply themselves to study during a period of from twenty to fifty years, and the world is filled with admiration of their achievements. How limited are these accomplishments in comparison with those of men whose mental and physical powers were developing for centuries!

Of Enoch it is written that he “lived sixty-five years, and begat Methuselah.” Genesis 5:21. After that he walked with God three hundred years. During his earlier years, Enoch had loved God and had kept His commandments. He was one of those who worked to keep alive true faith and carried on the blood line through which Christ was to come. From Adam he had learned the dark story of the Fall and the cheering one of God’s grace as seen in the promise. He looked for the Redeemer to come. After the birth of his first son, however, Enoch reached an even higher experience; he was drawn into an even more intimate relationship with God. As he saw the child’s love for its father, its simple trust in his protection, and as he felt the deep tenderness for his first-born son, he more fully understood the wonderful love of God to men in the gift of His Son and the confidence which the children of God may rest in their heavenly Father’s care. The boundless and incomprehensible love of God through Christ became the subject of his thought day and night. He realized more fully his own responsibility as a son of God; and with all the earnestness of his soul, he sought to reveal that love to the people among whom he lived.

Enoch’s heart was in harmony with God’s will, and this holy walk was continued for three hundred years. His faith grew strong; and with the passing of time, his love became more intense. As a preacher of righteousness, he made known to the people what God had revealed to him. Those who feared the Lord came to him in order to share in his instruction and his prayers, but his work was not restricted to only the descendants of Seth. He labored publicly also, bearing God’s messages to all who would hear the words of warning. In the land where Cain had sought to flee from the divine Presence, the prophet of God made known the wonderful things that had been shown him in vision. “Behold,” he declared, “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

Some who heard Enoch’s preaching heeded the warning and gave up their sinful ways, but the vast majority made sport of the solemn message and went on even more boldly in their evil ways. Just as the generation before the Flood rejected the warning words of the prophet of God, so the last generation to live on the earth before Jesus’ return will ridicule the solemn warnings God sends them through His messengers.

As year after year passed, men went deeper and deeper into lawlessness and crime. By their disregard of God’s authority, they showed themselves to be worthy of destruction; and the gathering clouds of divine judgment finally prepared to break over them. Yet Enoch remained a faithful witness, warning, pleading, and striving to turn back the tide of guilt threatening to engulf the world. Though his warnings were ignored by a sinful, pleasure-loving people, it was said of him that God approved (see Hebrews 11:5); and he continued to battle faithfully against the prevailing evil, until God removed him from a world of sin to the pure joys of heaven.

In translating Enoch, it was the Lord’s purpose to teach an important lesson. There was danger that men would become discouraged because of the terrible results of Adam’s sin. Satan was urging them to believe that it was impossible for men to obey God’s law and that there was no reward for the righteous or punishment for the wicked. In the case of Enoch, God showed that “He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6. Men saw in his life an example of obedience to all of God’s requirements. His translation was an evidence of the truth of his prophecy concerning the hereafter, with its reward of an immortal life to the obedient and of the woe and death to come to the wrong­doer. God showed what He will do for those who keep His commandments.

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; . . . for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.” Hebrews 11:5. In a world that by its immorality and wickedness was doomed to destruction, Enoch lived a life of such close communion with God that he was not permitted to fall under the power of death. His godly character represents the condition of holiness which must be attained by those who shall be “redeemed from the earth” (Revelation 14:3) at the time of Christ’s second coming. Then, as in the world before the Flood, sin will predominate. Following the urging of their corrupt hearts and the teachings of a false and misleading theory of knowledge, men will rebel against the authority of Heaven. But like Enoch, God’s people will seek for purity of heart and obedience to His will, until they shall reflect the likeness of Christ. Like Enoch, they will warn the world of the Lord’s second coming and of the judgments to be visited upon sinners. By their holy lives they will condemn the sins of the ungodly. As Enoch was translated to heaven before the destruction of the world by water, so the living righteous will be translated from the earth before its destruction by fire. Says the apostle: “We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” I Corinthians 15:51–52;
1 Thessalonians 4:16–17

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