Methuselah. It’s an interesting name, to say the least. A name which belongs to a rather obscure character in the Bible. He is probably known to most as the man with the longest recorded life span in history. He lived a grand total of 969 years; but that was really not astounding, as most people during his time seemed to live well into their nine hundreds. His own grandfather, Jared, lived 962 years. Adam lived to be 930, and Noah to 950.
The interesting thing about Methuselah is his name. Yes, it sounds like his father was about to name him Matthew, when he suddenly sneezed and it came out wrong. (“His name shall be Ma… Ma…. Mathe… MeTHUselah!!!!!! Obe, I’b so sorry, anybone hab a klenex?” *sniff*)
But all joking aside, it appears his name had a rather unique purpose. Consider who Methuselah’s father was: the prophet Enoch, who lived for only 365 years, and walked with God, and then “was not, for God took him.” Enoch was a prophet who preached of God’s coming judgment on mankind (see the book of Jude, verse 14). The coming judgment was, of course, the flood of Noah’s day. Methuselah’s name is made up of the Hebrew words Met, U, and Shelakh, which mean “he shall die,” “and,” and “it shall be sent.” Methuselah’s name was a prophesy in itself of judgment!
Now, that may seem a bit odd. Perhaps even far-fetched. But consider this. Methuselah lived 187 years and had a son, Lamech. Lamech in turn had a son named Noah. Lamech was 182 years old when Noah was born. Which means that Methuselah was 369 years old when his grandson Noah was born. Noah was 600 years old when God flooded the world. Add 600 to 369, and you get 969 years. Methuselah, then, died the year of the flood. And, judging by the meaning of his name, he probably did not perish in the flood, but rather died shortly before it.
Now, think about the implications of this. He was a living prophecy, and his death was like a final warning to his sinful generation – a warning to repent and be saved from the judgment, by boarding the ark. The fact that his life was the longest on record (as far as we know) should also suggest God’s mercy – a few more years, a few more chances to repent. For as long as Methuselah lived, the judgment would be held back.
The Bible does not say much about this man. But something else we can gather from the chronology, so intricately woven into the genealogy from Adam to Noah, is that Adam was still alive when Methuselah was a young man. He could have easily known and talked with this ancient patriarch, the father of all mankind. And then, as the judgment approached, he was now the ancient patriarch, and a bridge between Adam and the evil generations wiped out in the flood.
Today, we face another judgment. Someday, the Lord will return and judge the earth again, not in water but in fire. And then, everyone will stand before his judgment throne and be condemned for their sins – everyone but those whom he has purchased with his blood. Everyone but those who have received Jesus the Messiah as their Lord and Savior.
There is another judgment coming,
Like Noah’s flood, which came of old.
The world’s sins are great and many,
God’s wrath is awful to behold.
But like the love He showed to Noah,
This love God shows to you and me;
His Son has died and rose again,
Messiah’s triumph sets us free.
The Ark’s great door was open wide
To all who’d turn, admit their sin,
Believe in Him, reject their pride;
The choice was theirs to enter in.
Like unto it is Jesus; He
Our refuge is from what will come;
Instead of wrath, eternally
We’ll praise him in our heavenly home.
The choice is yours, but be forewarned
As they mocked Noah, so they’ll mock you.
Can you, for Him, endure the scorn?
Consider well, what you will do.