Picture of Pastor Gettys

Sermon delivered June 13, 2009 by Pastor Don Gettys

McDonald Road Seventh-day Adventist Church

McDonald, Tennessee

Biblical quotations are from the New International Version NIV unless otherwise noted. Divine pronouns and titles are capitalized.

Patriarch Peleg

Genesis 11:16-19

(RealAudio available)

Patriarch Peleg.  Is Peleg one of your favorite Bible characters?  You don't even know anything about him, do you?  

I love studying the book of Genesis.  It tells me that humankind originated from the creative hand of God Himself.  We did not originate from the D.N.A. of a flea bit monkey.  We were created in the image of God.  I like that.  Seventh-day Adventists believe in creation.  We believe that this world was created in seven literal 24-hour days.  And you know, our forefathers lived in the Eden paradise, but Adam and Eve lost paradise and mankind lost faith in God.  And the antediluvians were given keen minds.  And yet they used their thoughts to glorify themselves and to think of evil and to invent new ways to sin.  Instead, their thoughts could have developed a high degree of spirituality and they focused on sin.

You know, I believe that God created us for higher purposes than what we are using our bodies and our minds for.  And I do believe in creation.  I do not believe in theistic macro-evolution.  We, as Seventh-day Adventists, can do better than that.

Genesis, chapter 6.  Come over here to Genesis in your Bible now.  The sixth chapter, and I would like for you to notice several verses.  Genesis 6 verse five.  “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”  That's bad.  Verse six.  “And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth.  It grieved Him at His heart, and the Lord said, ‘I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth.’”  Maybe He should've done it.  We disappointed Him so much.  But He didn't.  

And why didn't He destroy all mankind?  Because one righteous man stood between God and the doomed human race, and who was that man?  That was Noah.  Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.  So God sent a worldwide flood and destroyed all of mankind except for Noah, his wife and his three sons and their three wives.  Eight people were saved on the ark.  

Genesis 10 is the record of the three sons of Noah and their descendents, and embedded in the genealogy of Genesis 10 is an intriguing bit of information that has fascinated me ever since I was a little boy reading the Bible.  Peleg.[Pea-leg]  I thought, “Wow, Peleg.  Who is that?  What is so special about him?”  And you realize that in the list of all these patriarchs here, that there is only one name for which we have a meaning of that name and that is Peleg.  So there is something special about this name.  And this adds to the importance of the event for which this name commemorates.  

You read through several verses of boring lists of who begot who and then you come to this fascinating verse.  Come over here to Genesis 10 and verse 25 and to me this is fascinating, and it says, “Unto Eber were born two sons.  The name of one was Peleg,” and I don't know how to pronounce it. Maybe it’s Pe-leg or Pay-leg or I don't know.  I’ll choose Pea-leg.  “For in his days the earth was divided and his brother's name was Joktan.”  So you have Peleg and Joktan, two brothers.  Now we get the word ‘Hebrew’ from the word ‘Eber’, their daddy. 

Peleg means ‘divided’.  So the question is, what was divided, in Peleg’s day?  Now there are several possibilities.  Number one, continental division.  In his day the earth was divided so obviously before Peleg, the earth was not divided.  Would you agree with that?  In his day it was divided and before that it was not divided.  It was not divided or separated.  There was apparently, a single, earth primeval landmass. 

The first page of the Bible actually seems to confirm this.  Come over here to Genesis chapter 1 and verse nine.  God makes a statement here.  He says, “Let the water under the earth be gathered to one place and let the dry ground appear and it was so.”  So on the third day all the water was where?  In one place.  Which means that all the land was in the other place.  Well that's obvious to me.  If all the water was in one place, then all the land was in the other place, because we’re only dealing with land and water here.  And so one great landmass or super-continent was in one place until the time of Peleg, maybe.  And then in the days of Peleg the earth was somehow divided.   Now the idea of a single landmass, for us who believe, for we who believe in creation, has enormous implications because the people that teach evolution, they say, “Well how would the animals get from where the Ark was all the way over here to Tennessee?  How would all this work?  It wouldn't work so creation is defunct.”  Well, it would have worked very well.  All the animals had to do in exiting the Ark was just walk over the landmass that was there, just like God commanded them to do.  

Genesis says, “In his day,” Peleg’s day, “the earth was divided.”  Something monumental happened in the days of Peleg.  Whatever occurred resulted in the whole earth being divided or split up.  There was a major geological event sometime after the flood.  In the Hebrew language the word ‘Peleg’, you can look this up in whatever sources you have, means ‘a dividing by water’.  That's the route.  And the event was mentioned by the Holy Spirit twice in Scripture.  It’s mentioned once in Job, chapter 38, verse 25.  He uses the word as ‘a dividing of waters’.  The word Peleg. 

So this great event was so momentous that the very lifespan of these antediluvians was cut in half, whatever it was.  Peleg was born approximately the year 1995. 1995 after creation.  19 hundred and 95 years after creation Peleg was born.  He was the fifth generation after the flood.  Born at least a hundred years after the flood, so the great dividing would not be the flood.  Why would that be?  Otherwise Noah would have been named Peleg, but Noah was not named Peleg. 

Peleg died.  You know he was the first patriarch to die that was born after the flood.  His father Eber lived most of 5 hundred years, but Peleg died at the age of 2 hundred and 39.  His daddy outlived him by 2 hundred and 25 years, and in fact, when Peleg died, Noah was still living.  So something cut the lifespan of people drastically in Peleg's day.  Something great, mysterious, happened then.  Nobody after this dividing event lived any longer than Peleg did.  Peleg means division and the name of his brother. 

What's his brother's name?  Joctan.  Do you know what the word Joctan means?  ‘A lessening’.  Less.  Not as much.  Well, what was lessened?  Well the lifespans were much less, and as the lifespans went down so did the height in Counsels on Diet and Foods,  373.  The post-flood population ate largely what type of a diet?  Animals.  They ate animals which drastically shortened their lives.  Changes in the climate shortened life.  In Peleg's day the earth was divided.  Now if something is divided then each part is less than the whole.  So it would be less, wouldn’t it?   I think they're trying to tell us something here.  The only thing there wasn't less was sin.

Have you ever noticed the shapes of today's continents, if you look at Europe and Africa and then you look at the Americas and how if you put them together they would almost fit like pieces of a jig saw puzzle.  I've noticed that and I wonder why that happened.  You know, if we remove the Atlantic Ocean and fit these things together, they practically fit nicely.  Especially at the continental shelf level.  It's interesting that many of the fossil correspondences exist on the edges of these two continents as if they were together at one time.  And evolutionists argue that the post-flood animals could not disperse over the world, but it would be very simple for them to just walk before Peleg's time.  This timing would allow a hundred or more years for easy migration of all these animals.  You know how easy could a herd of kangaroos and other marsupials journey to Australia because it was all connected, maybe.  They just walked.  No treacherous big mountains or big oceans.  And this was before the invention of the compass.  How the earth was divided, I don't really know.  Was the earth tilted on its axis at this time?  Was this the time of the ice age?  They tell us there was an ice age.  It came down through Canada and went as far south as Kansas.  We don't know.  We’re probably going to have to wait til we get to heaven to find out all the answers. 

But what was God's purpose in trying to divide the world.  He wanted it divided.  He wanted people to spread out.  God did not want huge congregating in a city environment, because in the dense population areas there's a lot more crime.  There’s a lot more drug use.  Did you know that 81 percent of Americans live either in a city or the suburb of a city.  81 percent. 

We live in a morality vacuum here in America.  Many kids don't wear a belt.  They don't wear shoe laces.  Sort of mimicking the criminals that go into some of these big, high-security prisons.  The first thing they take away is your belt and your shoelaces.  We’re copying violent incarcerated criminals and many worldly kids today wear pants that would fall off if they didn’t hold them up.  God wants people of integrity with a godly moral life. 

In Peleg's day God divided the world.  How did He do it?  Well, there's a suggestion number two.  Here’s another way.  Maybe it was languages.  Come over here to First Chronicles in your Bible.  First Chronicles chapter 1, and I would like for you to look at verse 19.  It mentions Peleg.  It says two sons were born to Eber.   One was named Peleg because in his time the earth was divided.  And his brother's name was Joctan.  So another possibility of this division could be the event at the Tower of Babel.  I would agree with that.  This began to develop in the second generation of the Ham-ites.  The descendents of Ham.  And eventually they built a city and within this city was this huge mega-tower.  We call it the Tower of Babel.  Eventually they built this city.  They constructed this huge tower to the heavens where they had idol worship up there.  Worshiped the stars. Worshiped astronomy.  You remember the sermon I preached here on Nimrod.  We got into that.  Nimrod wanted a one world government, which is similar to what is desired today, and God took action against this hotbed of sin.  Look at Genesis 11.  Notice what God did.  Genesis Chapter 11 and verse seven.  God says, “Come, let Us go down and confuse their languages, so they will not understand each other.  So the Lord scattered them.”  Now maybe this is the scattering.  Maybe this is the dividing right here.  He scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.  Verse nine.  “That is why it is called Babel because the Lord confused the language of the whole world and from there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth.”  God wanted them scattered.  He did not want them congested together. 

God divided the population of the world into linguistic groups.  Today we have 7 thousand, 2 hundred, and 99 primary languages and dialects.  It goes from Alumazootsu to Zapotec.  I don’t speak either one of those languages.  Now, if you were God, who would you decide to give English to?  I'm so glad He gave English to us, aren't you.  I don't think I could learn those other languages, but they are so glad that he gave Swahili to them or whatever their other language is.  He separated the entire world.  Many linguistic researchers now conclude that the origin of all languages of the world, at least in the Indo-European languages was ancient Turkey, which is right where the ark landed.  So it kind of confirms the Bible, doesn't it?  God's creative mind invented each of these languages.  What a God we have.  

Look at Genesis 10, verse five.  It says, “By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided.”  So here’s the dividing.  This is how it happened.  “They divided in their lands, every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.”  So the isles of the Gentiles were divided in their land.  Language differences separated Noah’s great-grandchildren.  The grandchildren probably spoke different languages.  The isles of the Gentiles divided their lands.  The post-flood people found others who spoke the same language they did and they all went off in groups to various countries, as the early American people did.  They piled their things into their Conestoga covered wagons and headed out to the four corners of the world.  

It reminds me of something that happened in our house.  We found a black widow spider, and I killed it, which I think, personally, is a good thing to do to a black widow spider.  I know some of you probably revere snakes and spiders and that type of thing.  I hate them all.  So anyway, I killed the spider regardless.  OK?  After that event was done, I went back to the web and noticed a sack, and I thought, “Oh, there's black widow eggs in there.  I wonder what those eggs look like.  Do they sparkle or, you know, what do they look like?  I've never seen anything like that.”  So I took it into my wife’s kitchen and put it on the counter.  Now, don't ever do that.  And I got her scissors out of the drawer.  If you men want to keep your wife happy…  Any way.  I took the scissors and cut the cocoon or the sack open and it dropped on the counter, and immediately those things were alive.  They weren't eggs, they were baby black widows.  Hundreds of babys.  I noticed this dark expanding circle.  They were headed in all 360° of direction.  This dark circle, black widow baby spiders expanding on my wife's kitchen counter.  And I thought, “Oh! this is an emergency.”  It didn't take me long to formulate a plan of action, and the wicked antediluvians with their new vocabulary spread out like baby black widow spiders into the world and God must've felt, “You know, I don't like all this evil expanding.” 

I see some of you looking at me.  You want to know how I got rid of the black widow spiders, don't you?  You folks are awful.  You know, curiosity killed the cat.  Well what I did, I covered them with a paper towel that happened to be real handy.  I did not use my wife's dishtowel.  A paper towel, and quickly applied heavy pressure, and it got them all because we’re alive. 

And I'm sure that God was tempted to do the same thing that I did as He saw these wicked antediluvians spreading throughout the whole world.

Psalm 55 mentions Peleg.  Psalm 55, verse nine.  You probably won't see this when you read it in your Bible, but it says, “Confuse the wicked, oh Lord, and Peleg their speech.”  Confound their speech.  This word is mentioned in the Bible a lot, and it always has to do with separating or other.  You know, it would be logical for Peleg's father to name his firstborn son in commemoration of some major event that had just happened.  And maybe the migration, maybe the language, maybe the continental situation.  Each subpopulation of humans now replicated what the animals had done over the last hundred years and disbursed over the entire globe. 

Now, you think about it.  Today we are not divided like God had in mind for the human race.  We’re not divided anymore today.  This world, in fact, there's a book called the Flat Earth.  We’re all together because of the Internet.  Because of all these connections throughout the world.  Because of modern interconnectivity and modern rapid transportation.  That means that we are less divided than at any time since the days of Peleg.  In Peleg's day Nimrod was building a city with a huge high-rise and God did not want his people living in the wicked city.  He wanted them to scatter out.  And I think in these last days, are the modern cities less wicked than they were in Peleg’s time?  As I was driving down I-75, past the Hamilton Place mall, I looked to the right and there's a bunch of gang graffiti on one of the buildings there.  It's never been there before and I think this stuff is encroaching upon us.  Things are happening.  It is not God's will that Christian families would raise their children surrounded by wickedness.  That's not His will.

A high hotel in a large city is probably not the best place to raise your kids.  I read in a book, “I see the necessity of the people of God moving out of the cities.”  Leviticus says, “I lay your cities waste.”  The book Evangelism.  “As God's commandment keeping people we must leave the cities.  As did Enoch we must work the cities.”  Now, what is she saying here?  As God's commandment keeping people we must leave the cities, as did Enoch.  We must work in the cities but not dwell in them.  And Psalm 56:9.  “I see violence and strife in the city.” 

You know the time is near when again the wickedness of the Earth is reaching a certain prescribed limit.  I think God has a limit that He draws the line and wickedness cannot go any further than this.   And the large cities, I believe, in the last days will be visited by the judgments of God, and many of them will be swept away by the besome of destruction.  The sinful cities of this world will be targets of the last day plagues in the book of Revelation.  Just as God's lightning destroyed the top of the tower of Babel.  You know, the Tower of Babel was not completed once God got through with it.  And it reminds me of that pyramid on the back of the dollar bill.  Have you looked at that pyramid on the back of it?  It’s uncompleted.  And just so, the central cities of our day are going to be targets of God's wrath and in the Bible many cities don't fare very well, do they?  You take Babylon and Soddom and Gomorrah.  Jericho.  Nineveh.  They become centers of moral corruption and violence.  Hotbeds of vice, pollution, crime.  Targets of terrorists today.

The story of Peleg in Genesis is one that causes me much thought.  And I think Peleg is alluded to in the New Testament.  Come to the New Testament, to the book of Revelation.  Revelation chapter 4.  Revelation 4 and verse 4.  It says, “Round about the throne were four and 20 seats, and upon the seats I saw four and 20 elders sitting clothed in white raiment and they had on their heads crowns of gold.”  So you have 24 thrones and you have 24 elders sitting on these 24 thrones, and I think these are real redeemed men from this planet, and it could be that these 24 are the true elders of this planet, Adam being the eldest.  And if it's 24, 24 men would take us down to the time of Perez with Peleg being number 15.  Now according to Luke, chapter 3, and verse 23 to 38 these 24 patriarchs were all in the lineage of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ.  That's the line that Jesus came through.  Peleg was a great great great great great grandfather of Jesus.  He was a patriarch.  An ancient elder. 

Will you see these 24 elders when you get to heaven?  Will you meet Peleg when you get to heaven, as they sit in the 24 points of the compass around the throne of God?  Will you be there?  Be present to ask them questions?  “And what does your name mean?  What happened when you were a boy?”  You will see them if you are also clothed in the pure white robe of the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  They are clothed in white.  You're going to have to be clothed in white.  We don't have that righteousness on our own, but through faith in Jesus Christ, we do have it.  Praise God for that.  

You know, friends, time is short.  I don't understand all the Bible, but it intrigues me.  There are many things in here that fascinate me.  And I want to tell you, I wish that everyone of you would study the Bible more.  We ought to be people of the Book.  People of this Book.  People of the red books.  We ought to be people studying, on our knees.  Our world is in a super colossal crisis.  With the economy.  With the wickedness.  With the things that are going on, it is bad.  The world economies are in shambles.  Is your soul in shambles?  Or is your soul strong?  It can be.  You can be, in your thoughts, in your heart, a person after the heart of God.  That's what I want for my life.  I want to be present someday.  I want to meet these patriarchs.  I want to meet Adam and Eve.  I want to meet all of them and I don't want to miss out on that. Make sure you're right with God.  Make sure that your soul is in the right place.

Let's sing our closing hymn.  Let's make sure we're right with God.  Be Still My Soul.

Dear Father in heaven.  Help us to be modern patriarchs, following Jesus Christ.  Modern matriarchs.  Modern saints in these modern days.  Following Jesus and His total word.  Dismiss us with Your blessing.  May we be present someday when we shall meet the saints of old.  In the meantime, keep us focused on Jesus Christ, we pray in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

 Hymn of Praise: #220, When He Comes
Scripture: Genesis 11:16-19
Hymn of Response: #461, Be Still, My Soul

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McDonald Road Sermon transcribed by Steve Foster 7/17/09