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The Law of the Firstborn
The law of God distinguished a man’s firstborn in many, many ways. While these distinctions were to be observed ceremonially throughout the Mosaic dispensation, they are all gloriously accomplished in Christ, the Firstborn. Let me show you.
A father’s honor was wrapped up in his firstborn. The firstborn was considered “the beginning of his [father’s] strength” (Deuteronomy 21:17; Genesis 49:3; Psalm 78:51). The firstborn was particularly near and dear to his father. So the Lord Jesus Christ, as the God-man Mediator, because of his accomplishments as the Firstborn, is precious in God’s sight and beloved of the Father (John 10:17; Proverbs 8:22, 30; Matthew 3:17; Hebrews 1:9).
Consecrated to God
The firstborn was consecrated to the service of God (Exodus 13:1-2, 12). It was because he was consecrated to God that the firstborn had to be redeemed (Exodus 13:13; 34:20).
Israel was “redeemed from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh,” because they were, typically, Jehovah’s firstborn (Deuteronomy 7:8; Exodus 15:13) and were consecrated to the service of God (Exodus 19:1-6; Romans 9:4). The priestly duties of the firstborn were transferred to the Levites (who ceremonially and typically became the tribe of the firstborn) in Numbers 3. And all the Levitical priesthood typified our Savior’s priesthood (Hebrews 8-10), whose priesthood is the priesthood of God’s Firstborn.
The firstborn received a double portion of his father’s estate (Deuteronomy 21:17; 2 Kings 2:9). All nations and people receive a goodly portion from our Father in that he bestows physical blessings upon them (Matthew 5:45). But God’s Israel has been doubly blessed, not only with physical blessings, but also with “all spiritual blessings” in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). We have received of the Lord’s hand double for all our sins (Isaiah 40:2). And our Lord Jesus Christ, the Firstborn, is gloriously blessed. The Father has given all things to the Son, “whom he has appointed Heir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2). Truly, we who are numbered among “the church of the Firstborn” are given the double portion of the firstborn in Christ. We are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17-18).
Possessed the Birthright
The firstborn could never be deprived of his birthright (Deuteronomy 21:15-17). Christ the Firstborn will never be deprived of his birthright (Psalm 2:8; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Revelation 11:15). And God’s Israel, the firstborn nation of his elect (Romans 11:1-5), the church of the Firstborn, who are grafted into and made one with Christ (Romans 11:13-26), will never be deprived of its birthright (Exodus 19:5-16 & 1 Peter 2:9-10).
Head of the Family
The firstborn succeeded his father as head of the family (2 Chronicles 21:3). Although the Lord our God, by reason of his eternality, will never be succeeded, he nevertheless has appointed Christ his Son, his Firstborn, to be head of the nations, “a special treasure above all the people that are upon the face of the earth” (Deuteronomy 7:6). He has appointed Christ to be Head over his family the church (Ephesians 3:14-22; 3:15; 5:23), and the Head over “every man” (1 Corinthians 11:3), the Head over “all principality and power” (Colossians 2:10), the Head over “all creation” (Colossians 1:15), even the Head over “all things” forever and ever, to the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:22).
“Christ,” the Firstborn, “is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth” (Romans 10:4). Oh, may God graft you into Christ, his Firstborn, giving you faith in him, that you may be counted his firstborn with Israel his Son, his Firstborn! As God destroyed Egypt and many nations since for not honoring his Firstborn, so he will destroy all who refuse to honor his Son, his Firstborn, the Lord Jesus Christ. Honor him by trusting him, even as the Father has trusted him with all things from eternity, and God will honor you with everlasting life before him. If you refuse to trust him, God will destroy you with everlasting destruction in hell.