In this series we're talking about the names and descriptive
phrases identifying Jesus. Thus far we've talked about Jesus
the Son of
God, the life,
of God, and the propitiation
for our sins.
In this article, we talk about Jesus as the firstborn.
Under the law of Moses, the term "firstborn" was used literally
and figuratively, expressing a relationship, an inheritance,
preeminence, and privileges.
The firstborn son's inheritance was a double portion.
He had special privileges as the firstborn male of the family.
- "But he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of
the unloved, by giving him a double portion of
all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength;
to him belongs the right of the firstborn" (Deut.
God called Israel His firstborn son. This communicates
the relationship He had with Israel, and the preeminence,
privileges, and inheritance He granted the nation.
- "Then you shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the LORD,
"Israel is My son, My firstborn"'" (Ex. 4:22).
God calls David, who was a type of Christ, His firstborn.
This communicates the relationship of David with God, looking
forward to the relationship Jesus would have with God.
- "I also shall make him My firstborn,
the highest of the kings of the earth" (Ps. 89:27).
In Scripture, God uses the term "firstborn" to communicate
several things about Jesus and Christians, which we'll investigate
through the remainder of this article.
Jesus: Firstborn, Preeminent
Jesus is the firstborn of all creation.
- "He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn
of all creation" (Col. 1:15).
The phrase "firstborn over creation" does not mean Jesus
was created by God, because He's divine and therefore eternal
(Jn. 1:1). Rather, it means that He's preeminent.
- "For by Him all things were created, both in
the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether
thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities -- all things
have been created through Him and for Him. He is before
all things, and in Him all things hold together. He
is also head of the body, the church; and He is
the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He
Himself will come to have first place in everything"
- "And He put all things in subjection under His feet,
and gave Him as head over all things to the church" (Eph.
Jesus: Firstborn From The Dead
Jesus is firstborn from the dead. In other words, He was
first to resurrect from the grave, having conquered death.
- "He is also head of the body, the church; and He is
the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so
that He Himself will come to have first place in everything"
- "And from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the
firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings
of the earth. To Him who loves us and released us from
our sins by His blood --" (Rev. 1:5).
Because Jesus conquered death, and rose by the power granted
Him by God (Jn. 10:18), we too will resurrect to eternal
life by the power of God if we obey Jesus (1 Cor. 6:14;
Jesus: Firstborn Among Many Brethren
Paul says that Jesus was the firstborn among many brethren.
- "For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to
become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He
would be the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom.
Since we are flesh, Jesus became flesh to author our salvation,
and save us.
- "But we do see Him who was made for a little while
lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of
the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so
that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things,
and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons
to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation
through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and
those who are sanctified are all from one Father;
for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren"
- "Therefore, since the children share in flesh and
blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same,
that through death He might render powerless him who
had the power of death, that is, the devil,
and might free those who through fear of death were subject
to slavery all their lives" (Heb. 2:14-15).
As Christians, we follow in the footsteps of Jesus (1
Pet. 2:24). Therefore, we are His brethren because we have
conformed to His image, making Satan powerless against us
in respect to death (Heb. 2:9-15).
Church of the Firstborn
Since Jesus is the firstborn, His church is called "church
of the firstborn" in Scripture.
- "To the general assembly and church of the firstborn
who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge
of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect"
Members of the church of the firstborn have a relationship
with God, an inheritance from God, preeminence in the world
as God's people, and privileges given to them by God. They're
enrolled in heaven, and possess eternal life.
If you're a Christian, you're a member of Jesus' church,
the firstborn's church, and have all these blessings from
But if you're not a Christian, you're missing out on the
most precious things of life.
To be continued.