Who is God’s firstborn?

You will be surprised to learn from the Scriptures that there are several firstborns for God namely, Israel, Ephraim, David and finally Jesus Christ. In this post, we will explore how the birthright passes on from Israel to Jesus as God’s firstborn.

Israel

Exod 4:22 “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Israel is My son, My firstborn.

God calls Israel as His firstborn. As we saw earlier, firstborn is someone who opens the womb.

Deut 4:20 “But the LORD has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt, to be His people, an inheritance, as you are this day.

Just as a baby comes out of the womb, Israel was brought out of the iron furnace, out of Egypt to be His inheritance. God had never taken any other group of people out of their bondage prior to Israel.Hence, Israel is His firstborn, who was the first to be take out of bondage and slavery.

Ephraim

Jer 31:9 They shall come with weeping, And with supplications I will lead them. I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters, In a straight way in which they shall not stumble; For I am a Father to Israel, And Ephraim is My firstborn.

If Israel is God’s firstborn, how can Ephraim also be God’s firstborn?

Gen 25:23 And the LORD said to her: “Two nations are in your womb, Two peoples shall be separated from your body; One people shall be stronger than the other, And the older shall serve the younger.”

Gen 17:1-6 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am Almighty God; walk before Me and be blameless. And I will make My covenant between Me and you, and will multiply you exceedingly.” Then Abram fell on his face, and God talked with him, saying: As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for I have made you a father of many nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come from you.

Gen 48:17-19,22 Now when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took hold of his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.” … Moreover I have given to you one portion above your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow.”

While God promised Abraham many nations, Jacob was still referred as a single nation by God when he was in the womb. However, when Israel, who was God’s firstborn, blesses Ephraim, he passes on Abraham’s blessing that many nations will come from him. Moreover, Joseph received the birthright because, he received a double portion and Jacob passes on his birthright to Joseph’s younger son, Ephraim.  This is why the northern kingdom is often referred as Ephraim in the prophets (Isa 7:9; Isa 11:13). Jeroboam, who took ten tribes from Solomon’s son and became king of Israel was from the tribe of Ephraim (1Kgs 11:26).

Israel is God’s firstborn. Israel passes on his birthright to Ephraim. Thus, Ephraim is God’s firstborn.

David

Ps 89:26-27 He shall cry to Me, ‘You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’ Also I will make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth.

Ps 78:67-68,70 Moreover He rejected the tent of Joseph, And did not choose the tribe of Ephraim, But chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which He loved. … He also chose David His servant, And took him from the sheepfolds;

Even though Ephraim is God’s firstborn, He rejected the tents of Joseph and chose David from the tribe of Judah. Israel being God’s firstborn passes on his birthright to Ephraim. But God rejected Ephraim to chose David from the tribe of Judah and made him His firstborn.

Jesus Christ

Rev 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,

Jesus is also called the firstborn from the dead and the ruler over the kings of the earth. This is identical to the prophesy we saw earlier for David in Ps 89:26-27.

Ps 89:3-4 “I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn to My servant David: Your seed I will establish forever, And build up your throne to all generations.’ ” ​Selah

Luke 1:31-33 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

The birthright from David was passed on to Jesus Christ, who came in the line of David to reign over the house of Jacob forever.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

It is also important to note that none of the other ‘firstborns’ mentioned in Scripture were not truly ‘begotten’ of God except Jesus Christ who is the only begotten Son of God. Hence, the other firstborns of God mentioned in Scripture are a shadow of the true Son of God, who not only inherited their birthrights but also fulfilled all the promises bestowed on them.

Addressing Paul’s lie

Col 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

Firstly, man was already created the image of the invisible God (Gen 1:27). Christ, however, introduces Himself as not being an image of God but rather, the Word of God (John 1:1), who is God Himself, being one with the Father (John 10:30). He declares Himself to be the first and the last, the Almighty (Rev 1:8). Secondly, Christ is neither the firstborn over all creation for Him to be part of any creation nor all creations are brothers and sisters of Christ for Him to be a firstborn over them all. Christ is the firstborn over all who are born again (or) born of God.

Rev 21:7 “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.

Luke 20:35-36 “But those who are counted worthy to attain that age, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage; nor can they die anymore, for they are equal to the angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.

Christ is the firstborn of the dead, which means, firstborn over all who are counted worthy of the resurrection from the dead.

Conclusion

Israel being God’s firstborn passes on his birthright to Ephraim. But God rejected Ephraim to chose David from the tribe of Judah and made him His firstborn. The birthright from David was passed on to Jesus Christ, who came in the line of David to reign over the house of Jacob forever. Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, who is the true firstborn over all who are born of God.