Thursday, April 16, 2009

Passover 2: The Firstborn

Exodus 12:
12For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.
23 For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.

Exodus 13:
1The LORD said to Moses, 2 "Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine."
11"When the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites, as he swore to you and your fathers, and shall give it to you, 12 you shall set apart to the LORD all that first opens the womb. All the firstborn of your animals that are males shall be the LORD’s. 13 Every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. Every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem. 14 And when in time to come your son asks you, 'What does this mean?' you shall say to him, 'By a strong hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery. 15For when Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let us go, the LORD killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of animals. Therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all the males that first open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.' 16 It shall be as a mark on your hand or frontlets between your eyes, for by a strong hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt."

In Part 1 of this trilogy the focus was on Christ as Passover Lamb. Here in Part 2 the focus will on the firstborn, and especially Christ's significance as the firstborn.

Most of the church of today is familiar enough with the Passover narrative to know that the deliverance was wrought by God through ten plagues inflicted in the land of Egypt, and upon its' inhabitants, the tenth plague being the death of the firstborn.

Exodus 11:
4So Moses said, "Thus says the LORD: About midnight I will go out in the midst of Egypt, 5and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the cattle. 6 There shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there has never been, nor ever will be again.

The first thing that must be established is;
God intended to strike ALL the firstborn in (not of) Egypt whether they were Egyptian, or Hebrew or any other tribes or peoples who lived in Egypt be they slave or free.

Chapter 4 and verse 23 of Exodus has the Lord commanding Moses to tell Pharaoh that his firstborn would die, if he refused to let God's people go. We also see that with each succeeding plague sent upon Egypt, Pharaoh's heart became harder and harder. The Scriptures tell us that God hardened Pharaoh's heart, so the death of the firstborn is a foregone conclusion. Romans 9:14-18 Selah!

The point must also be made that in Exodus 1, Pharaoh commanded that ALL the male babies of the Hebrews must be killed, not just the firstborn. (Later the Lord calls all of Israel His firstborn son. All of this is God's sovereign plan)
So the firstborn of Egypt pertains to the firstborn male child. This is why the Passover Lamb had to be a male, and not female as in the sin offerings decreed in the later giving of the Law.

Passover is a stand alone event. It is the greatest event in the history of Israel, prophesying of Christ's death and resurrection, which is the greatest event in the history of the world.

Let us look at Christ as firstborn.

1. Jesus is the firstborn son of God. He is Israel. Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of Israel as God's firstborn Son. Israel being all the saints, jew or gentile. Romans 11:25-29; Eph 2:11-22

Exodus 4:
22Then you shall say to Pharaoh, 'Thus says the LORD, Israel is my firstborn son, 23and I say to you, "Let my son go that he may serve me." If you refuse to let him go, behold, I will kill your firstborn son.'"

Hosea 11:
1 When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.

Matthew 2:14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt I called my son."

Romans 8:
29For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.

2. Jesus, as Son of God, is the firstborn of all creation.

Colossians 1:
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

Hebrews 1:
5For to which of the angels did God ever say, "You are my Son, today I have begotten you"?
Or again, "I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son"?
6And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says, "Let all God’s angels worship him."

Adam may have been called the son of God,(Luke 3:38) but he was made through Christ, who was foreknown before creation to be the firstborn son of all creation. Jesus Christ was the firstborn Son before the foundation of the world was laid. He is truly worthy of the worship of the angels, of which "He was made for a little while, lower than." Hebrews 2:6-8

4. Jesus is the firstborn son of man, of the woman, Mary.

Luke 2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

As a side note; it is really interesting that the scripture points out the fact that Jesus was Mary's firstborn, This is a blow to roman catholic teaching that Mary had no other children, and forever remained a virgin. The adjective "firstborn" would not have been used if He was the only child she had. He is firstborn among his half-brothers and sisters. Hallelujah!

5. Jesus is Firstborn from the dead.

1 Cor 15:
20But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

Colossians 1:

17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell,

Rev 1:
4John to the seven churches that are in Asia:
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood.

He is the firstborn Son of God of ALL creation, old or New.
His Father has "covered all the bases" re: sonship of the firstborn summed up in Christ.
We now see Jesus as Lamb of God, and firstborn Son of God.

Let us return to Egypt, so to speak.
God's required ransom for the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt is the death of the firstborn. This is as true today as it was then. When the Lord would see the blood of the Lamb on the doorposts and lintels of the Hebrew homes, He would not send the Destroyer in to take the firstborn's life. Why? They were covered by the blood of His firstborn Son, the Lamb. The price had been paid.The firstborn had died.
God knew which houses belonged to the Hebrews. The blood is a sign for His people. We must be under the blood to be brought out of bondage. This is not just forgiveness of our sins. It is release from enslavement to sin itself. God requires the death of the firstborn in order to accomplish this. All under the blood, are in Christ, the firstborn Son and therefore participate in His death. Christ stands as firsfruits of all creation. (now we now why even the cattle were struck down).

2 Cor 5:
17Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

We share in His death, and in His resurrection.

Romans 6:
3Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

The firstfruits is the tithe. Jesus Christ is the tithe (payment) for all humanity. All who are under the blood by faith. Are bought and paid for.

1 Cor 7:
23 You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.

Hebrews 11: 28By faith he kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.

The Hebrews covered their doorways with the blood in an act of complete faith.
So after they had been brought out, and through the giving of the Law, God said:

Exodus 22: 29
"You shall not delay to offer from the fullness of your harvest and from the outflow of your presses. The firstborn of your sons you shall give to me. 30 You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep: seven days it shall be with its mother; on the eighth day you shall give it to me.


Exodus 34:
18 "You shall keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, at the time appointed in the month Abib, for in the month Abib you came out from Egypt. 19 All that open the womb are mine, all your male livestock, the firstborn of cow and sheep. 20The firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. And none shall appear before me empty-handed.

God required the consecration of the firstborn sons of Israel as an act of worship, acknowledging the price he paid in the giving of His firstborn and only begotten Son. The tithe is worship, it is not 10%!

Now one might say that the exodus from Egypt pre-dated Jesus' earthly existence so how would the Hebrews even be aware of this.
1 Peter 4:6;John 5:37-47;John 6:56-58; Hebrews 11, show that even the "old testament" saints are "saved by grace through faith."

Luke 2:
22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord")24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, "a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons."25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law,28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,29 "Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word;30 for my eyes have seen your salvation31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel."33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him.

In the final installment on the unleavened bread we will see the role of the redeemed as firstfruits, in Christ.

To the glory of God.

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