Are there none righteous between Noah and Abraham? How did the promise of a Messiah pass down this line?
From Adam to Abraham, the Bible traces the seed promise God initially spoke in the Garden:
Gen. 3:15 And I will put enmity
Between you and the woman,
And between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
And you shall bruise him on the heel.”
The Lord promised a Messiah would come in the family of Woman. The Bible traces the fulfillment of this promise through the line of humanity descended from Adam. The genealogies of Genesis are important for this reason, because they trace the faithfulness of God in keeping the seed promise.
Before God created the nation of Israel through Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the seed promise was kept by a single family on earth. One child inherited the promise from his father, and that child eventually passed it along to one of his sons. God alone determined which son would continue the line of the seed promise. (For a complete understanding of the seed promise, please listen to our Genesis study.)
In the time of Noah, only Noah received the promise, as shown by the genealogy in Genesis 5. Apart from the family holding the seed promise, no other families were called by God into faith. Therefore, only Noah's family was saved on the ark.
After the flood, the seed promise continued forward, as recorded in Genesis 10 & 11 eventually landing on Abraham. So every man mentioned in Genesis 11:10-26 between Shem and Abram are part of the seed line, and therefore each man was saved by faith.