By Charles H. Welch
Noah. Peter speaks of Noah in both of this epistles, calling him the "eighth person", and reminding us that there were "eight souls" saved in the ark (1 Pet. 3:20, 2 Pet. 2:5). This association of the number "eight" with Noah is not accidental. We find that the number 8 is attached to Noah and his sons by numerics, Noah, Shem and Japheth between them giving the total 888. For explanation of this statement, see the article entitled NUMERICS. Eight is the octave, the number that makes a fresh start, and this feature is very marked in the typical position occupied by Noah in the record of Genesis.
The following parallels between Adam and Noah are sufficient to justify
the teaching that Noah (the eighth person) sets forth in type the Second
The relation of the days of Noah with Peter's prophecy given in 2 Peter 3:15 is fully discussed in the article entitled THE AGES and the days of Noah and their foreshadowing of the days that precede the Coming of Christ will be included with other features in the article entitled THE SECOND COMING. The reference to "the sons of God" which is found in Genesis six win be dealt with in the articles entitled NEPHILIM and SONS OF GOD. A word is called for in connexion with Lamech the father of Noah, Lamech was 182 years of age when Noah was born. Sufficient time had passed for him to arrive at the conclusion that has been discovered by others since, viz., that "all is vanity" apart from the restoring grace of the Redeemer.
In naming his son Noah, Lamech emphasized his felt need of rest. Noah is derived from nuach which means "to be at rest", and occurs in Genesis 8:4, "and the ark rested in the seventh month". Again in Exodus 20:11, "for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day". When we read in Genesis 8:9, "the dove found no rest", the word is manoach, or in 8:21, "the Lord smelled a sweet savour" the word "sweet" is nichoach, and literally the passage reads, "a savour of rest". Thus it will be seen that for God as well as man there is a place of rest, and that rest is Christ, of whom Noah and the ark are prophetic.
Lamech in naming his son said, "this same shall comfort us (nacham, or, give us rest) concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed". The word rendered "toil" is twice rendered "sorrow" in Genesis three where the curse is first pronounced, "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow", and "in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life" (verses 16,17). The words "work and toil" may be a figure, meaning very grievous work; the work and the toil are clearly specified as being the work and toil of the hands, and in connexion with the ground, which under the curse yielded but thorns and thistles of itself, whereas bread only came by sweat of face. We read that Cain experienced a special pronouncement of this curse (Gen. 4:12), and he is the first builder of a city that is named in Scripture, possibly still acting in character, making an attempt to find some amelioration of the curse which Lamech refused.
We cannot help noticing the similarity of names that occur in the two lines of Adam's descendants. If there is an Enoch who walked with God, there is an Enoch born to Cain in the land of banishment. If there is a Jared in the line of Seth, there is an Irad in the line of Cain, which differs only in one letter in the original. Methuselah has a son named Lamech in the line of Seth, so Methusael has a son of the same name in the line of Cain. Both Lamechs have seven, and seventy and seven connected with them. They speak to us of the beginning of that parody of truth which Satan has so skilfully established and maintained, by taking advantage of similar sounding names, and of the confusion of tongues which we associate with Babylon and Babylonianism. (See The Two Babylons, by Hislop).
Lamech, "the sixth from Adam", in the line of Cain, has three sons, one (Jabal) kept cattle, and so continued in the work of the ground, but Jubal was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ, and Tubal-Cain an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron. It would appear that the veneer which has spread over the curse, and which is variously named culture, civilization, progress, etc., today, was originated by the sons of Lamech of Cain's line. The Lamech who begat Noah, however, is in direct contrast, he does not appear to have attempted to evade the weary toil that must be experienced by those who, by sweat of face, eat the bread that is produced by the ground that is cursed. Lamech longed for rest, but he did not accept the vain substitutes of the line of Cain. There are many today who, surrounded by the comforts and inventions of man, would scarcely believe that there is truth in the record of the curse on the ground.
The products of the earth and sea are brought to their door, no thought passes through their mind as to the sorrow and the toil that someone, somewhere, must endure to provide them with the necessities of life. Not all may be so crude as the little town-bred urchin who, when taken for the first time to a farm in the country, said, "I don't want milk from a Cow. I want milk that comes from a SHOP", but something akin to this attitude is induced by the multiplication of "push buttons" in the daily round. Lamech knew no such deadening influence; the toil of his hands was hard and wearying because of the ground that the Lord had cursed. A friend writing recently gave an unconscious echo of Lamech's words, saying, "When one, from the back of the land, sees the toil of man and beast, there comes to the lips no more fitting words than, "Even so, come, Lord Jesus".
Harps and organs, however melodious and charming; brass and iron, modelled and designed into the most wonderful of machines and inventions, though they may "prove" to the natural man the upward development of his attainments, afford no rest for those in whose hearts the truth of God abides. Rest for them is found in the true Noah, Whose witness and Whose experience testify of a safe passage through the flood of judgment, of the resurrection, and of a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. See the article ATONEMENT in the doctrinal volume of this Analysis.