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Sermon #2300                                                                     Miscellaneous Sermons

 

Title:               Jehovah’s Firstborn

 

Text:                Psalm 89:27

Subject:         Christ the Firstborn

Date:              Morning Bible Class — December 18, 2016

Introduction:

 

Let’s read the 89th Psalm together. As we read this Psalm, everywhere you see the name “David” read it “Christ,” and you will see the meaning of the Psalm. It is all about the Lord Jesus Christ, our blessed Savior, David’s son and David’s Lord.

 

(Psalm 89:1-29) “I will sing of the mercies of the LORD forever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations. (2) For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens. (3) I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, (4) Thy seed will I establish forever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah.

 

(5) And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints. (6) For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? Who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD? (7) God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him. (8) O LORD God of hosts, who is a strong LORD like unto thee? Or to thy faithfulness round about thee?

 

(13) Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand. (14) Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face. (15) Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance. (16) In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted. (17) For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted. (18) For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king.

 

(19) Then thou spakest in vision to thy holy one, and saidst, I have laid help upon one that is mighty; I have exalted one chosen out of the people. (20) I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him: (21) With whom my hand shall be established: mine arm also shall strengthen him. (22) The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him. (23) And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him. (24) But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him: and in my name shall his horn be exalted. (25) I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. (26) He shall cry unto me, Thou art my father, my God, and the rock of my salvation. (27) Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth. (28) My mercy will I keep for him for evermore, and my covenant shall stand fast with him. (29) His seed also will I make to endure forever, and his throne as the days of heaven.”

 

I want to show you from the Scriptures that our Lord Jesus Christ is Jehovah’s Firstborn. That is the title of my message. — My Firstborn.” In verse 27 of this 89th Psalm, the Lord God calls our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, “My Firstborn.

 

(Psalms 89:27) “Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.”

 

I want to show you what the Word of God has to say about Christ the Firstborn. If you will go back to Exodus 13 for a minute, you will see the law of the firstborn, as it was given to Moses by the Lord God (Exodus 13:1-2, 12-13).

 

(Exodus 13:1-2) “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, (2) Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.”

 

(Exodus 13:12-13) “That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD’S. (13) And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem.”

 

God’s Purpose

 

The law of the firstborn was given to point us to the fact that in all things, the triune God has purposed and determined that his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ have preeminence, as the God-man Mediator, the Savior of his people. Therefore, he is declared to be “the Firstborn.

Š      The Holy Spirit tells us that God’s purpose in saving his elect is that his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, “might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:28-29).

Š      We read, in Colossians chapter one, that our Savior, “is the image of the invisible God, the Firstborn from the dead…the head of the body, the church: the beginning, the Firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”

Š      And in Hebrews 12:23 the church of God is called “the church of the Firstborn.

The Lord God is determined that his Son, our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ be exalted and have all preeminence as his Firstborn (Psalm 89:27).

 

(Psalms 89:27) “Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.”

 

Old Testament Types

 

Throughout the Old Testament the preeminence of our Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior is typified as the first, the firstborn, the firstfruits, and the firstlings of the flock and of the herd. Indeed, everything recorded in the Old Testament foreshadows him who is the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, and the Sum and the Substance of all things in the salvation of his people (Luke 24:25-27, 44). There is nothing in the Book of God that does not speak of our all-glorious Christ, nothing that does not, in one way or another, set forth his supremacy, excellence, and glory as God our Savior. Nowhere is this fact more evident than in those passages dealing with the firstborn.

 

The firstborn symbolized a father’s might and strength, “the excellency of dignity and the excellency of power” (Genesis 49:3). In that awesome night, when the Lord God slew the firstborn of both man and beast among the Egyptians (Exodus 12:29), he claimed the firstborn of both man and beast in Israel as his own, requiring that they be sanctified unto him (Exodus 13:2).

 

(Exodus 13:2) “Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.”

 

The Difference

 

Identifying Israel with himself and himself with Israel in Exodus 4:23, the Lord God said, “Israel is my son, even my firstborn.” And it was God himself, and God alone, who put a difference between the firstborn in Egypt and the firstborn in Israel on that night — (A Great Gulf Fixed). We are expressly taught by the Spirit of God that everything on that passover night was typical of Christ, who as “our Passover was sacrificed for us (1 Corinthians 5:7). The sprinkling of the blood of the lamb of the first year, without blemish, and without spot, on the houses of the Israelites, was the one thing that put a difference between the firstborn of Israel and the firstborn of Egypt. The blood of the lamb alone saved them from destruction. This we are plainly told in Exodus 11:7.

 

(Exodus 11:7) “But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the LORD doth put a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.”

 

As it was on that great night of judgment and mercy, so the year of Christ’s redeemed is both the day of vengeance and the day of salvation (Isaiah 63:3-5).

 

(Isaiah 63:3-5) “I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. (4) For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. (5) And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.”

 

When the Son of God died as our Substitute upon the cursed tree, he bore all the vengeance of God’s holy wrath for us, to the full satisfaction of Divine justice; and obtained eternal redemption and salvation for us by the sacrifice of himself (Hebrews 9:12). At the same time, he declares, “the day of vengeance is in my heart.

Š      He bore all the vengeance of God for God’s elect.

Š      And he obtained eternal redemption for his people.

Š      He satisfied Divine justice.

Š      And he saved his people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).

Yet, there is a day, appointed and fixed by him, when our God will execute judgment upon his enemies as well as of mercy upon his people.

 

The Birthright

 

The birthright belonged to the firstborn among the children of Israel, and gave him preeminence in the family. To him belonged the right of priesthood (Numbers 3:12-13, 40-45; 8:15-18).

 

(Numbers 3:12-13) “And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine; (13) Because all the firstborn are mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast: mine shall they be: I am the LORD.”

 

(Numbers 3:40-45) “And the LORD said unto Moses, Number all the firstborn of the males of the children of Israel from a month old and upward, and take the number of their names. (41) And thou shalt take the Levites for me (I am the LORD) instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel; and the cattle of the Levites instead of all the firstlings among the cattle of the children of Israel. (42) And Moses numbered, as the LORD commanded him, all the firstborn among the children of Israel. (43) And all the firstborn males by the number of names, from a month old and upward, of those that were numbered of them, were twenty and two thousand two hundred and threescore and thirteen. (44) And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, (45) Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of their cattle; and the Levites shall be mine: I am the LORD.”

 

(Numbers 8:15-18) “And after that shall the Levites go in to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt cleanse them, and offer them for an offering. (16) For they are wholly given unto me from among the children of Israel; instead of such as open every womb, even instead of the firstborn of all the children of Israel, have I taken them unto me. (17) For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself. (18) And I have taken the Levites for all the firstborn of the children of Israel.”

 

The firstborn was given a double portion among his brethren (Deuteronomy 21:17). — (Elisha’s Desire).

 

(Deuteronomy 21:17) “But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.”

 

And to the firstborn it was promised, “thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee (Genesis 49:8). All these Old Testament declarations were intended to show forth the majesty of Christ, as “the Firstborn among many brethren. All the offerings required of God for every male that opened the womb pointed to our Lord Jesus (Exodus 13:2; 34:19-20; Leviticus 12:6; Luke 2:21-24).

 

(Exodus 13:2) “Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.”

 

(Exodus 34:19-20) “All that openeth the matrix is mine; and every firstling among thy cattle, whether ox or sheep, that is male. (20) But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty.”

 

(Leviticus 12:6) “And when the days of her purifying are fulfilled, for a son, or for a daughter, she shall bring a lamb of the first year for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon, or a turtledove, for a sin offering, unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, unto the priest.”

 

(Luke 2:21-24) “And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. (22) And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (23) (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) (24) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”

 

Opens the Womb

 

Robert Hawker suggested that the Scriptures, when speaking of “the firstborn that openeth the womb,” must have been prophetic of the virgin birth of our Savior. “For strictly and properly speaking, none but the Lord Jesus ever did open the womb in birth…In every other instance, from the creation of the world, as anatomists well know, it is accomplished at the time of conception.”

 

Our blessed Savior, “the Firstborn,” was conceived in Mary’s virgin womb by the overshadowing power of God the Holy Spirit. Our Lord Jesus Christ, Jehovah’s Firstborn, opened Mary’s virgin womb when he came forth from it to accomplish our redemption.

 

Thus, throughout the Levitical dispensation, the firstborn of man and beast directed the eye of faith to him whom the Triune Jehovah appointed to have everlasting preeminence as “the Firstborn.” In all things, it is, was, and forever shall be the will of the eternal God, that Christ have preeminence in all things as the God-man, our Mediator and Redeemer.

 

Firstborn Redeemed

 

Yet, the law of God required redemption of the firstborn among the children of Israel (Numbers 18:15-16).

 

(Numbers 18:15-16) “Everything that openeth the matrix in all flesh, which they bring unto the LORD, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be thine: nevertheless the firstborn of man shalt thou surely redeem, and the firstling of unclean beasts shalt thou redeem. (16) And those that are to be redeemed from a month old shalt thou redeem, according to thine estimation, for the money of five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.”

 

The firstborn was brought to the priest, along with “five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary. The priest received the child in the name of the Lord as his own. Then the priest returned the child to the care of its parents; but it belonged to the Lord.

 

All the firstborn had to be redeemed. And we who are called “the church of the Firstborn” had to be redeemed to our God by the blood of Christ, either redeemed or killed.

 

However, the firstborn of the Levites was not redeemed (Numbers 1:47-48; 3:12-13).

 

(Numbers 1:47-48) “But the Levites after the tribe of their fathers were not numbered among them. (48) For the LORD had spoken unto Moses, saying,”

 

(Numbers 3:12-13) “And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine; (13) Because all the firstborn are mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast: mine shall they be: I am the LORD.”

 

Why was this exemption made? Why did God require that the firstborn of the Levites not be redeemed? Because the Levites represented our Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ; and he, who is our Redeemer did not need to be redeemed.

 

Though our Savior came, as a man, from the tribe of Judah, the Levites, being chosen as the priestly tribe, portrayed the whole election of grace as a people holy and accepted in the Beloved, “a kingdom of priests” and “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people,” redeemed and called in Christ (Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:9). And the whole Levitical priesthood typified both Christ our Priest and Mediator, whom God took in the stead of his firstborn ones and us, God’s elect in Christ. We had to be redeemed; but he who is the Redeemer did not need to be redeemed.

 

Fulfilled in Christ

 

The law of God distinguished a man’s firstborn in all these 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.

 

1.    The firstborn was considered “the beginning of his (father’s) strength (Deuteronomy 21:17; Genesis 49:3; Psalm 78:51).

 

(Genesis 49:3) “Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:”

 

(Psalms 78:51) “And smote all the firstborn in Egypt; the chief of their strength in the tabernacles of Ham:”

 

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).

 

(John 10:17) “Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.”

 

(Proverbs 8:22) “The LORD possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old.”

 

(Proverbs 8:30) “Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him;”

 

(Matthew 3:17) “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

 

(Hebrews 1:9) “Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”

 

2.    The firstborn was consecrated to the service of God (Exodus 13:1-2, 12).

 

(Exodus 13:1-2) “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, (2) Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.”

 

(Exodus 13:12) “That thou shalt set apart unto the LORD all that openeth the matrix, and every firstling that cometh of a beast which thou hast; the males shall be the LORD’S.”

 

It was because he was consecrated to God that the firstborn had to be redeemed (Exodus 13:13; 34:20).

 

(Exodus 13:13) “And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem.”

 

(Exodus 34:20) “But the firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb: and if thou redeem him not, then shalt thou break his neck. All the firstborn of thy sons thou shalt redeem. And none shall appear before me empty.

Š      Without A Sacrifice!

Š      Without Atonement!

 

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.

 

3.    The firstborn received a double portion of his father’s estate (Deuteronomy 21:17; 2 Kings 2:9).

 

As Israel was called God’s firstborn (Exodus 4:22), in Christ all God’s elect are his firstborn! 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, with not only 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). Now, watch this — We are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17-18).

 

(Romans 8:17-18) “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (18) For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

 

4.    The firstborn could never be deprived of his birthright (Deuteronomy 21:15-17).

 

(Deuteronomy 21:15-17) “If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated: (16) Then it shall be, when he maketh his sons to inherit that which he hath, that he may not make the son of the beloved firstborn before the son of the hated, which is indeed the firstborn: (17) But he shall acknowledge the son of the hated for the firstborn, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath: for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.”

 

Š      Christ the Firstborn will never be deprived of his birthright (Psalm 2:8; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28; Revelation 11:15).

 

(Psalms 2:8) “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.”

 

(1 Corinthians 15:24-28) “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. (25) For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet. (26) The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. (27) For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. (28) And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.”

 

(Revelation 11:15) “And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.”

 

Š      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).

 

5.    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!

 

(Romans 10:1-13) “Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. (2) For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. (3) For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. (4) For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth. (5) For Moses describeth the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which doeth those things shall live by them. (6) But the righteousness which is of faith speaketh on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:) (7) Or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) (8) But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; (9) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. (10) For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (11) For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (12) For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. (13) For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

 

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.

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

Don Fortner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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