All the Men of the Bible - Sunday, September 1, 2013
Methuselah, Mathusala [Mētho̅o̅’se lah]—a man of the javelin or it shall be sent (deluge). The son of Enoch, and grand-father of Noah, who lived longer than any other man recorded in history (Gen. 5:21-27).
The Man Who Lived the Longest
The Bible represents human life as vastly prolonged before the Flood. Afterwards it grew rapidly briefer. The longevity of the antediluvian races proves that the constitution of man was different from what it is today. With the Flood a change took place so that now the duration of human life is rarely over one hundred years. No strength of constitution, temperance or vegetable diet can add years to such a limit. The instructive register of Genesis five shows that the man who lived for the shortest period lived for 365 years, and the one who lived for the longest period lived for 969 years.
The remarkable longevity served a useful purpose in that it made possible the reception and preservation of ancient traditions. Perhaps Adam lived for about 113 years after the birth of Methuselah, and Methuselah could not have been more than 369 years old when his grandson Noah was born. Thus, Noah conversed with one who had conversed with Adam and Enoch had the privilege of conversing with Adam. God knows how to preserve His truth for the guidance and sanctification of succeeding generations.
Although Methuselah, whose name was fitting for a time when the earth was full of violence, lived for almost a millennium, nothing whatever is recorded of his long life save the birth of his children. What an immense influence he could have exerted through the years if only, like his father Enoch, he had walked with God! It is not the length of a life that counts, but the quality of it.
Why did Methuselah die thirty-one years short of a millennium? Has God reserved the privilege of living for one thousand years for the millennial saints? During our Lord’s millennial reign, life is to be prolonged again, so that one hundred years shall be the duration of childhood, and a grown man’s ordinary age shall be in the age of a tree (Isa. 65:20, 22).