Redemption and Rebellion, Encoded
The Scriptures use a number of different methods of encoding meaning. There exists the literal meaning, the spiritual meaning, and the typological meaning. However, one form of meaning that is often overlooked is that meaning which is encoded into names.
I do not speak merely of meaning encoded into single names. Certainly that exists, especially among the old testament patriarchs, or even the name of YHWH Himself. However, this article will primarily concentrate on messages encoded into multiple names, such as specific biblical blood lines. We will be primarily using two resources in our examination, namely A Dictionary of the Proper Names of the Old and New Testament Scriputres by J. B. Jackson and Strong’s Concordance with Hebrew and Greek Lexicon by James Strong.
The Line of Seth:
Let’s begin by exploring the meaning of the names of the pre-flood descendents of Adam, passing down the line of his righteous son, Seth.
Adam: Man, or red earth. Some have speculated this may mean that Adam had a ruddy, Mediterranean complexion.
Seth: Appointed, put, or substituted. This refers to the fact that Seth was a substitution for Abel following his murder by his brother, Cain.
Enosh: Mortal. This likely points to the mortality of man.
Cainan: Most sources suggest the meaning of Cainan is smith, fabricator, or possession. However, some sources claim that Cainan means sorrow, so I took a closer look. Cainan (also Kenan) is really “qeynan” in Hebrew. Another word, “qiynah,” means a sorrowful dirge or lamentation. Qiynah is used to refer to the Kenites, and is derived from the name Cain. The etymological similarity is far too close to ignore, and so I think we can safely conclude that Cainan also means sorrow.
Mahalelel: Praise of God, or the blessed God.
Jared: To come down, descend, or descender.
Enoch: Initiated, dedicated, train, or teach.
Methuselah: Man of a dart, they died, or his death shall bring. The name Methuselah is the combination of two verbs: Mat (or mut) and shalah. Mat means man or mankind, but mut means death, or to kill by violence. Shalah means to bring, or send. Interestingly, if you do the math you will find that Methuselah died the same year as the flood of Noah, so his death truly did bring the flood.
Lamech: J.B. Jackson’s Dictionary of the Proper Names of the Old and New Testament Scriptures lists the meaning of Lamech as “why thus with the” or “unto bringing low,” but I do not know from where he arrived at the first conclusion. Strong’s Concordance says that Lamech (lemek) is “From an unused root of uncertain meaning.” Thus, if we are to accurately determine the meaning of the name, we must break it down.
Lamech may be a combination of “le” and “muk.” Le means to, or towards, and muk means to be low, or depressed. Some have compared lamech to the english word lamentation, suggesting that despairing may be a good definition for Lamech. However, considering it comes from an unused root, we may never know for sure what it means, precisely.
Now that we have the meanings of these various names, let’s put them together into a single paragraph. Man is appointed mortal sorrow. The blessed God shall come down, teaching. His death shall bring the despairing rest.
Here we have a messianic prophecy encoded into the names of the antedeluvian patriarchs, thousands of years before the time of Jesus. Of course, the more picky among us may take issue with the meaning of Lamech’s name, but even if we substitute despairing with low or depressed, the meaning of the prophecy remains the same. If the Sethite bloodline contains just such a message, it begs the question: What about the line of Cain?
The Line of Cain:
Cain: Maker, fabricator, smith, or sorrow. Very similar to Cainan.
Enoch: Initiated, dedicated, train, or teach. See above.
Irad: Fugitive, A wild ass, or city of witness.
Mehujael: Smitten of God, or blot out that Jah is my God.
Methushael: Man who is of God, or they died enquiring.
Lamech: Why thus with the, unto bringing low, depressed, or despairing. See above.
Now, when putting together the names of the line of Cain a message does emerge, but the children of Lamech, for some reason, don’t seem to be part of it, so I left them out. The message is as follows: A fabricator dedicated a wild ass to blotting out that Jah is my God. They died despairing.
I think we can safely conclude that these names are not mere coincidence. If God encoded messages in the names of the antedeluvian patriarchs, what about other names from scripture? What about the name of God himself, YHWH?
When God came to Moses in the form of a burning bush in the third chapter of Exodus, he named himself “I AM.” The Hebrew word for “I AM” is spelled YHWH, and is referred to by scholars as the tetragrammaton. The tetragrammaton appears in scripture more than 6,000 times, and is usually incorrectly translated as “the Lord.” In Hebrew, not only names, but also individual letters and numbers have meaning. So what do the letters which make up the name of God mean?
Y: Yod, meaning hand. Symbolizes power.
H: He (or hey), meaning behold.
W: Vav (or waw), meaning hook, peg, or nail.
Thus, the name of God is spelled Yod-Hey-Vav-Hey. Reading right to left as the Hebrews did, this does not make much sense, but if we read it in reverse, we get “behold the nail, behold the hand.” It is not much of a stretch to say that this is a reference to the crucifixion. Moreover, the tetragrammaton identifies YHWH as the “right hand” of the Father, the one on whom the fate of the human race “hangs”. That being said, the tetragrammaton appears in scripture as early as the Torah and the book of Job. The Torah was written by Moses during his exile in Midian 15 centuries before the time of Christ, and the events recorded in the book of Job are thought by many to have occurred before the flood of Noah, itself a thousand years before Moses. Such clear and sophisticated foreknowledge makes it very difficult for atheists to argue that scripture is merely the result of the imaginations of a bunch of primitive, superstitious men.
Scripture is filled with nuggets of information such as these, if we have the wit to find them. If you are interested in searching for such encoded knowledge, I suggest using E-sword with Strong’s Concordance with Hebrew and Greek Lexicon. Both E-sword and Strong’s Concordance are free and readily available on the internet. J. B. Jackson’s Dictionary of the Proper Names of the Old and New Testament Scriputres is likewise free in PDF form, and each can be downloaded from the links below:
A Dictionary of the Proper Names of the Old and New Testaments:
- Jackson, J. B. A Dictionary of the Proper Names of the Old and New Testament Scriptures, Being an Accurate and Literal Translation from the Original Tongues. 1908.
- Strong, James. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, 1890.
- “Behold the Nail, Behold the Hand – The Secret (Sacred) Name of God – YHWH.” YouTube, uploaded by Offgrid Life, 18 February, 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0p2ZqRCipX4