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Who is Jesus?
The Firstborn
Part XII of the Series. Bible study on Jesus as the firstborn.

In this series we're talking about the names and descriptive phrases identifying Jesus. Thus far we've talked about Jesus as God, Lord, Savior, Christ, Creator, the Word, the Son of God, the life, the Light, the Lamb of God, and the propitiation for our sins.

In this article, we talk about Jesus as the firstborn.

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. 21:17).

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" (Col. 1:16-18).
  • "And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church" (Eph. 1:22).

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" (Col. 1:18).
  • "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; Heb. 5:9).

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. 8:29).

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" (Heb. 2:9-11).
  • "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" (Heb. 12:23).

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 God.

But if you're not a Christian, you're missing out on the most precious things of life.

To be continued.