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only-begotten, but one and only Son or only son.
From 2001 Bible Translation Their (update 10/5/2017)
Bible we read of the importance of being the firstborn son. For in
feature of being the firstborn son in
So, not only the firstborn humans, but also the firstborn of their cattle belonged to God. But what did this mean? Well, in the case of the cattle, they were to be offered as sacrifices to Him. However, they had to buy back their firstborn sons by offering an animal sacrifice instead. For we are told at Exodus : ‘And you must buy back (ransom) every firstborn son.’
AbraHam had provided the ‘type’ of what was really needed when he offered to sacrifice his firstborn son IsaAc. However, the thought of killing an innocent person was repulsive to God, so this is the reason why firstborn animals were sacrificed in place of humans… their sacrifice pictured the need for God to sacrifice His firstborn son to buy back humankind from slavery to sin and death.
Later on, God made
a change in His law regarding firstborn sons when He appointed the descendants
of Levi as the firstborn in place of those of the rest of the sons of
So, whereas the
special privilege of belonging to God was once offered to all the firstborn
If a person believes that Jesus is the same person as God (the Father), or if they believe that Jesus was just a human who first came into existence when he was born on earth, that person is missing out on the true meaning and significance of being the firstborn. For it’s a fact that all the laws and promises of the firstborn of men, animals, and crops showed how God was going to send this one – His most-loved and firstborn son – to save us. The Bible is clear on this; for notice what we are told in the following scriptures:
Despite all the
clear indications of the true meanings of the scriptures listed above, some
choose to argue the interpretation of a few words, such as the proper
Take for example, the rendering of Colossians ; for there it reads: ‘He’s … the firstborn of all creation.’ And yes, the word that is translated as firstborn is taken from the Greek word protokos, which literally means first taken, as in birth. In fact, wherever the word firstborn appears in its Greek form throughout the Bible, it is translated from some form of prototokos.
However, notice that Jesus was spoken of as ‘the firstborn of all creation,’ not as ‘the foremost of all creation’ (as some claim it means). And since the Bible constantly speaks of things in the terms that humans can recognize; speaking of Jesus as having been ‘born’ or ‘taken’ is clearly in line with his being the first creation of God (not by a human or spiritual mother, but as the first creation by God).
Yet, Jesus was also the first human to be conceived by God. Genes (or egenesen), for example, is the word that is used throughout Matthew 1:2-16 when speaking of the genealogy of Mary, to describe who fathered or sired each of the earthly ancestors of Jesus through her.
So Jesus was fathered by God…
1. As His first-created son in heaven
2. As His first-born son on earth
3. As the firstborn of God’s Breath (Spirit)
4. As the firstborn from the grave.
For as Paul wrote (at Colossians , 18): ‘He was before everything and everything came into existence through him. He’s the head of the body of the congregation and he’s the earliest and the first one to be born from the dead, so that he would be first in everything.’
For more information, see the linked document, 'Who Was Jesus?'
Yet, both the
later prophecies and the ‘types’ of ancient
that within the tribe of Levi (God's firstborn) there were two major
divisions. First there were the descendants of Aaron and Moses (the
'Priests') whose job was to serve inside the
Paul spoke of such
a heavenly gathering of ‘called ones’ at Hebrews 12:22-24, where he wrote:
‘What you've approached is
So from the above, we can conclude that at least some of the firstborn will be called to heaven to live and rule with Jesus… but what about the rest?
that ALL in the tribe of Levi (not just the descendants of Moses and Aaron)
were considered the firstborn. And though
all in that tribe were priests, those who were referred to as ‘the Levites’
didn’t generally live within the Holy City of Jerusalem, as did the Anointed
Priests of the lines of Aaron and Moses, who served inside God's
‘You bought people
for God with your blood
From every tribe, language, country, and race.
Then you made them rulers and priests to our God,
And they’ll rule as kings on (gr. epi) the earth.’
(For more information, see the linked document, 'God’s Promise of an Inheritance').
At this point, we
really aren’t sure whether all the faithful on the earth (symbolic
Does this mean that such ones must literally be the firstborn of family lines? No, for the Bible shows that a person doesn’t actually have to be the firstborn of men to be the firstborn of God. Take for example, Jacob; his brother Esau was literally the firstborn, but Jacob was able to buy that birthright from his brother for the price of a bowl of stew. So in this case, the right of firstborn was purchased from another, because one appreciated it and the other didn’t. And that’s how (by showing appreciation) one can become the firstborn of God.
Also, because of
their faithfulness, many others in Bible history who were not literally the
firstborn of their families were given the rights of the firstborn by God,
including some who were actually born close to last in their families. An
example of this was faithful Joseph, whose family line was given the inheritance
of the firstborn… a double portion of tribes (Ephraim and Manasseh) in
That David was
actually elected by God to be His firstborn is proven by the words of God as
found at Psalm 89:27, where we read:
‘Then I’ll appoint him My firstborn
And put him above the kings of the earth.’
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