Lamech – the seventh from Adam

As time progressed the way of Cain became more aggressive and godless, and a dramatic change occurred with the introduction of Lamech. Lamech was the seventh from Adam. A new form of religion appears to be in the making, one which was secular and reflected the ways of man – it was, in fact, the religion of man.

Lamech was the first to introduce a new standard in marital relations; he took two wives, Adah and Zillah (Gen 4:19). God had established a divine arrangement of one man and one woman – a standard endorsed by the Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostle Paul, “they two shall be one flesh” (Matt 19:5; Eph 5:31). It is impossible to become “one flesh” when our attention is divided. This important principle can be extended to our spiritual relationship with Christ. We can be guilty of sharing our spiritual partner, the Lord Jesus Christ – James warned, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that friendship with the world is enmity with God?” ( James 4:4). We are called upon to conduct ourselves like a “chaste virgin to Christ” (2 Cor 11:2).

The name Lamech means “striker down; over-thrower”. Lamech was the Old Testament equivalent to the Nicolaitanes (meaning “destroyer of the people”). How did the Nicolaitanes destroy the people? By their deeds (Rev 2:6), and by their doctrine (Rev 2:15), and this was exactly what Lamech was promoting. Lamech practiced immorality (Gen 4:19) and he taught human rights (Gen 4:23-24). God hates both.

Not only did Lamech act contrary to divine principles, but he set about to promote his views: “ye wives of Lamech, hearken to my speech” (v23). Moreover, he believed he had the right to do as he pleased. The words of verse 24 are rendered by Rotherham as follows: “If sevenfold be the avenging of Cain, then of Lamech seventy and seven.” Lamech was boastful and arrogant and considered himself superior to God.

Lamech’s family added further colour to this haughty individual.

  1. Adah: means “ornament; beauty”. The conclusion to be drawn from this description is that she was more concerned with outward show, a condition that is not encouraged by God (1 Pet 3:3).
  2. Zillah: signifies “shadow; defence and protection”. Though the second wife of Lamech, she was diligent to provide comfort and protection for those things he stood for. Gesenius comments that the word can be used of anything fleeting or transient.
  3. Jabal: means “a stream; to flow”, as in fluid. He was a rancher in cattle; he developed the livestock market. It seems ironic that cattle and not sheep should be his trade – the shepherd-like qualities of Abel had not developed; instead, they drove the animals.
  4. Jubal: the name is linked with the word “Jubilee” or “sound”. He introduced the world to the arts, being “the father of all such as handle the harp and organ” (Gen 4:21).
  5. Tubal-cain: signifies “offspring; increase”. He turned his accomplishments towards industry, being “an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron”(v22).
  6. Naamah: meaning “pleasantness; beautiful; agreeable”. The sister of Tubal-cain, while not being identified with any particular skills, is revealed by the meaning of her name, that being “pleasantness”, from a Hebrew word meaning “pleasure”.

It should be emphasised that there is nothing wrong with occupations such as farming, music and the trades, but Jude says they were ungodly people; there is a worldliness about the family of Lamech and, like Cain, their occupations appear to have dominated their lives, to the exclusion of God.

Turning to the epistle of Jude, we are introduced to another seventh from Adam – Enoch ( Jude v14-15). The record says, “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, 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”. Four times he uses the word ungodly and it will be noted that, in all probability, Enoch was speaking about Lamech the ungodly, who was guilty of deeds and hard speeches. But more importantly, Jude says that Enoch “prophesied of these”. Who is Jude referring to? It was those who were referred to in verses 12-13; those in the first century who had crept into the ecclesia and were disrupting ecclesial life. They were hidden rocks in the ecclesia; clouds without water; raging waves of the sea. They were shepherds without fear (RV ); trees without fruit and wandering stars.

Like Lamech, they were not ashamed to change the direction within the ecclesia and the only individuals that they were concerned about were themselves: “Their lives are guided by their evil passions, and their mouths are full of big, boastful words, while they treat individual men with admiring reverence for the sake of the advantage they can gain” (v16, Weymouth). Such were those that were present in the first century ecclesia. Today, we cannot ignore the possibility of this recurring.

In the first century there were two groups of people: those that “hated the deeds of the Nicolaitanes” (Rev 2:6), who, like Enoch, contended against growing apathy and indifference; and, there were those who held “the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes” (Rev 2:15), who were quite prepared to compromise the truth for the sake of peace and quiet.

Noah’s day versus our day

In the days of Noah, the sons of God were right in the middle of the problem. We read, “The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose” (Gen 6:2). They found the ways of the world appealing and they couldn’t resist. You rarely find the world looking in the direction of the truth. In the majority of cases, it is members of the ecclesia that are guilty of looking at the world. Again, it was the outward show that attracted the brethren – “they were fair”.

Unfortunately, we live in a world that is self-seeking, ungrateful, self-patronising; one which is embraced by many people. It is a way that is determined to envelop all who come within its influence. It is subtle in its approach and we must be on our guard as to the methods adopted to win over ‘weak’ individuals. This is clearly presented in the first chapter of the book of Daniel; Babylon had removed from Judah the best quality of Israel’s youth. It was the king’s intention to mold them in the ways of Babylon; this was to be achieved by flattery, bribery and brainwashing.

The first appeal was through a process of selection, separating from the nation the best of Israel’s youth – those who were “skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science”(Dan 1:4). Here was an appeal to the lusts of the flesh. The second appeal was to allow them the privilege of sitting at the king’s table, eating his meat and drinking his wine (1:5); this appealed to the lust of the eyes – they witnessed and experienced how the other half lived and what could be theirs if they complied. Thirdly, Nebuchadnezzar changed the names of Daniel and his three friends, giving them the names of Babylon. There could no longer be pride in the God of Israel, borne by their Hebrew names; they would hear the names of the gods of Babylon every time their name was called – they were being assimilated into the greatest power on earth. Thus there was an appeal to the pride of life.

This is true of the world in which we live today.

The gradual influence of society: There is no doubt that each generation becomes influenced to some degree by the society in which it lives; what was not acceptable to previous generations has become part of daily life today. In the late nineteenth century, attending the theatre was frowned upon. Today, periodic attendance is the norm. The radio was initially viewed as a worldly intrusion into the home of Christadelphians; then came along the television; and today, it is the computer, along with the internet and the cell phone. All of these influences, initially resisted by earlier generations, have gradually become an acceptable part of the Christadelphian family environment.

The influence of humanism on our thinking: The principles embedded in the French Revolution of Equality, Liberty and Fraternity make up the fabric of our modern society. The American family is nurtured on the values of the American Declaration of Independence which highlights man’s “Unalienable Rights”, and “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Children are educated to be individuals, with rights of their own, which presents increasing challenges to biblical values. The love of God is interpreted to mean tolerance; understanding as acceptance; and, compassion as license. All of this has become part of society’s thinking, and we are becoming influenced by it.

The influence of materialism: ‘Buy now and pay later’ has seriously contributed to a covetous society – what earlier generations took many years to accumulate is instantly desired and obtained by today’s generation. Technology forces people to continue upgrading in order to keep abreast – and the ease with which commodities can be obtained produces a debt level impossible for many to handle. Many families require two incomes in order to survive, which places tremendous strain on family life. Christadelphians are not exempt from all of this.

There are many appealing ways that presently influence our community. The question is how well are we equipped to combat them? The antidote provided by the Word of God is to have the correct focus: Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:34); and the Proverbs warn us, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov 29:18). We read that Daniel “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself ” neither with the king’s meat, nor his wine; and at the “end of the days” God caused him to prosper. We are living at the end of the days—it is a time to take stock of ourselves, our families and our ecclesias -because the day is coming when “there shall be time no longer,” and the prophet asks, “who shall stand when he appeareth?” (Rev 10:6; Mal 3:2).