Firstborn, what is,who is, why, when, for what and how to?
What is, who is and why?
Students of the Holy Bible have encountered this word firstborn“. First off, to take up this subject, it is essential to know its derivation and what it entails in both books of the Holy Bible.
In the Old Testament(Tanakh), “firstborn” is translated in English from Hebrew” bekor“, It refers to who “first comes out of the womb”. The Hebrew root bkr has the general meaning “(to be) early“. It is used of people and animals, cognate terms being employed for firstfruits, person or animal, male or female, singular or plural, collective or. figurative.
The first-born was regarded as “the beginning of strength“, see Genesis 49:3; Psalms105:36) and ‘the opener of the womb’ see Exodus 13:2 of human or animal; redeem the unclean Numbers 18:15,(as we all are and needs redemption)!from both paternal and maternal lines. The pre-eminent status of first-born was also accorded to Israel as in Exodus 4:22 and the Davidic line as in Psalms 89:27.
This generally refers to the fact that this son is the first son to be born of his father. Also, it refers to the rights and authority of a person, because they are the firstborn. In the Old Testament, the firstborn son was the one who normally received a double inheritance, and was the one who would inherit his father’s role as head of the family. God sometimes reversed this order, as he did with Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:21-26), and as Jacob later did with Ephraim and Manasseh (Genesis 48:13-22). Reuben was the firstborn of Jacob, but his rights as the firstborn were taken away because of his sin (Genesis 35:22; Genesis 49:3-4.). This is not “actual reversal“, as though this change was a mistake. Rather, the Father planned and wanted us to see that He is sovereign, the only one, through the example made by YHVH-Creator, who chooses who the “firstborn” should be.
As to human sacrifice done by non-Israelites at that time, consider these quotes from https://bible.org/question/what-significance-“firstborn”-bible
Jeremiah denies that the offering of human beings could have been an instruction from Yahweh (Jeremiah 7:31; 19:5). The prophetic conception of God had rendered such a doctrine inconceivable. Clear evidence of the spiritualization and humanization of religion among the Israelites is furnished in the replacement, at an early stage, of the actual sacrifice of the firstborn by their dedication to the service of Yahweh. At a later stage the Levites were substituted for the firstborn. Just as the firstlings of unclean animals were redeemed with money (Ex 13:13; 34:20), for the dedication of the firstborn was substituted the consecration of the Levites to the service of the sanctuary (Nu 3:11-13,15). On the 30th day after birth the firstborn was brought to the priest by the father, who paid five shekels for the child’s redemption from service in the temple (compare Lk 2:27; Mishna Bekhoroth viii.8). For that service the Levites were accepted in place of the redeemed firstborn (Nu 3:45). See note. According to Ex 22:29-31the firstborn were to be given to Yahweh. (The firstborn of clean animals, if free from spot or blemish, were to be sacrificed after eight days, Nu 18:16 ff.) This allusion to the sacrifice of the firstborn as part of the religion of Yahweh has been variously explained.“
it is interesting that the service of Levitical priest substituted for redemption of the firstborn and remember that the High Priest enters the Holy of Holies once a year. Moreover, that the clean firstborn animal is sacrificed, while the sinful “firstborn“ (all firstfruits) has to be redeemed. Why? This is predictive of Jesus sacrificed as “passover” and the future redemption eventually of all, as “all have sinned”(Romans 3:23).
When, for what and how to?
In the New Testament, the word firstborn is referred to, from the Greek “prototokos“. This Greek word is translated twice as “first-begotten” (Hebrew 1:6; Revelations 1:5) in the KJV, but otherwise, and always in the RV as “firstborn“. Jesus Christ was Mary’s firstborn (Luke 2:7; Matthew 1:25 ) before her other children. It includes men and animals (Hebrews 11:28). This is in contrast to “monogenes” which translates to only child in the New Testament or Septuagint.
Not only was Jesus, the firstborn of Mary historically and literally, but also (prophetically) is the “firstborn of many brethren” (brothers and sisters;make and female) as in Romans 8:29
Christ, is “the firstborn of all creation” (Col 1:15), not only in time, but also in power and authority. “All things have been created through him, and unto him” (Col 1:16). He is “sovereign Lord over all creation”,
Jesus was identified, named and described as “Son“(first begotten/firstborn) of the Father in Matthew 3:17, which was revealed to Matthew and written by him after Jesus’ resurrection. But, time wise, when did Jesus actually become “firstborn“? When was he declared firstborn? It was after resurrection, as in “declared/appointed/shown firstborn from the dead” (Romans 1:4). And, for what? So he will have “supremacy” as in Colossians 1:18. He is the “first of the firstfruits” as in Leviticus 23:20, the 1 lambs representing the sacrificed anthropos/flesh-composed Jesus and the resurrected, victorious spirit-composed Christ.
And how to be “firstborn” is a process that Jesus, the “captain:author/source (trailblazer)”, has gone through. Remember what he said, “I am the way , the truth and the life”(John 14:6). Jesus was the “first” who received the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit of power at river Jordan (John 1:32). From then on, as a human, (anthropos-Jesus 1 Timothy 2:5) he was empowered to overcome Satan’s temptation, (1st expression of power of HS against spirit-being) and convert water into wine in the wedding in Cana, (1st miracle about non-spirit matter) suggesting that before in-dwelling of this Holy Spirit of power, he would not be able to do this. This was a new-power, in the sense that it was not in-dwelling to humans before. After his death and resurrection, he was then given this gift-power directly by the Father to be gifted back for/to us-ward, as in John 16:7. In like manner, with this in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit into us which started at Pentecost, we will then be empowered to overcome evil as we walk “in the spirit, not the pull of the flesh”.
We were created flesh-composed and therefore “weak“, on “hope/confidence ” based on Jesus’ faith and works(our builder and carpenter) so we need a “Helper/Advocate/Comforter“. At the end, we will then “be clothed with immortality“, in “a twinkling of an eye” if we “persevere” in following the will of the Father as Jesus did, especially and profoundly in the garden of Gethsemane.
Together with Jesus, we will be “firstborn/firstfruits”. Salvation from eternal death requires the “real us” currently with mortal bodies to be changed into immortal-spirit-composed bodies, becoming members of “God-kingdom”
The “marred clay” that mankind became because of Adam is being re-shaped (as planned) by the “Potter” and our re-creation with the new power given by the Father to Jesus to “re-create” is still “ongoing“.
The introduction of the word “first born” has been defined in Genesis. This knowledge has been developed for us to understand the depth and breath of this word.
The “anthropos-Jesus, is the first man to receive the Holy Spirit at river Jordan, empowered to overcome evil and pull of the flesh, died and resurrected to receive the gift of Holy Spirit, directly from the Father, for us to be re-shaped by “writing the laws in our heart and mind” (not tables of stone) using this Holy Spirit-power, to be “firstborn” from the dead. We will then be “church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven” (Heb 12:23).
Original Post: 5/2/2019
Dedicated to my firstborn:
Blessing and AJ