There are two fascinating distinctions between the genealogy of Genesis chapter 5 and Genesis chapter 11. First is the mission refrain, and the second is the length of life.

Back in Genesis chapter five every birth recorded is followed by a recorded death. Remember? “And he died… and he died…and he died, ” over and over! It was a dramatic reminder to us all of our mortallity. (See Devotion for January 8). This was even more remarkable in the fact that these men who all died lived to be hundreds of years old. Shem lived nearly 700 years. Eber lived nearly 500 years and of course Methusaleh lived nearly 1000 years. But they all ended with the refrain “and he died.”

Notice that in the genealogy of chapter 11, no mention of death is made. Why? How strange is that since Shem’s son Arphachsad’s life is only 2/3rds the length of his father’s. Peleg’s 239 years is about half of his father Eber’s life. At the end Hahor’s life span is only 138 years. You would think death would be even more prominent in this genealogy, but it is completely absent. Why?

This genealogy is moving towards great hope for mankind. It’s introducing us to Abraham. The genealogy of chapter five ended with Noah, the man with three sons. All life died. The genealogy of Genesis 11 ends with Terah, the father of three sons. One being Abraham, through whom everyone who trusts God will live.

The man who teaches us how to trust God did so by obeying God’s command to sacrifice his son. The Angel stopped this sacrifice and in keeping with Abraham’s prophetic answer to his son’s question, “here is the wood, here is the fire, but where is the sacrifice,” God, himself, “provided the sacrifice.”

God took death in the person of his son Jesus Christ and destroyed death itself for everyone who believes.

Thus, even though our lifespans are so much shorter than even the shortest (138), to us, death has been destroyed. God so loved the world that he sent his only son, so that whoever believes in him, will not perish (read “die”), but will have everlasting life.