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The Firstborn

During Bible History, the firstborn was given special rights, privileges and responsibilities. The birthright of the firstborn included a double allotment of the estate, and leadership over members of the family who were born later. Jesus Christ is a very special firstborn.

Stars of Heaven The Firstborn Of Joseph And Mary

Jesus Christ, The Logos as a human, was the firstborn of Joseph and Mary:

"And she gave birth to her first-born son and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn." (Luke 2:7 RSV)

Other brothers and sisters followed:

"Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not His mother called Mary? And are not His brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all His sisters with us" (Matthew 13:55-56 RSV) (see Mary's Other Children?)

The Priesthood of the Firstborn

Originally, the firstborn son served as the priest, which among the Children of Jacob was transferred from Reuben to the descendants of Levi (see Levites). The role of the high priest in The Tabernacle, beginning with Aaron, was actually just a foreshadow of the mission of Jesus Christ:

"For every high priest chosen from among men is appointed to act on behalf of men in relation to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness. Because of this he is bound to offer sacrifice for his own sins as well as for those of the people."

"And one does not take the honor upon himself, but he is called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not exalt Himself to be made a high priest, but was appointed by Him who said to Him, "Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee"; as He says also in another place, "Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek."

"In the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard for His godly fear. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience through what He suffered [see Could Jesus Have Sinned? and Why Does God Allow Suffering?]; and being made perfect He became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek." (Hebrews 5:1-10 RSV)

A better covenant:

"This makes Jesus the surety of a better covenant. The former priests were many in number, because they were prevented by death from continuing in office; but He holds His priesthood permanently, because He continues for ever. Consequently He is able for all time to save those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them."

"For it was fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, blameless, unstained, separated from sinners, exalted above the heavens. He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; He did this once for all when he offered up Himself. Indeed, the law appoints men in their weakness as high priests, but the word of the oath, which came later than the law, appoints a Son who has been made perfect for ever."

"Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the sanctuary and the true tent which is set up not by man but by the Lord." (Hebrews 7:22-8:2 RSV)

The Firstborn of Many

Jesus Christ is the "firstborn," the "elder brother," of all who will inherit salvation:

"He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities - all things were created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything He might be pre-eminent." (Colossians 1:15-18 RSV)

"See what love The Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know Him. Beloved, we are God's children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when He appears we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." (1 John 3:1-2 RSV)

"For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, "Abba! Father!" it is The Spirit Himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with Him in order that we may also be glorified with Him." (Romans 8:15-17 RSV)

Fact Finder: What is the significance of the Day of Atonement?
See The Day Of Atonement

Prophecy Index | Daily Bible Study Home Page


This Week's Bible Quiz

1.What was the name of the father of John The Baptist?

2. What was the name of the mother of John the baptist?

3. What was the name of the angel who announced the coming birth of John the baptist?

4. Did John baptize Jesus, or did Jesus baptize John?

5. Did John the baptist ever preach in the Desert of Judea?

6. Why did John tell people to repent?

7. What were John the baptist's clothes made of?

8. What did John the baptist eat?

9. In what river did John baptize?

10. How did John the baptist die?

For the answers to this August 29 2000 quiz, see the Bible Quiz Answers Page


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