Chapter 9

The Firstborn

 

 

Hebrews 12:22-23 tells us that those who dwell in Zion will belong to the Church of the Firstborn.  The Head of the Church of the Firstborn is Jesus Christ.

 

Colossians 1:18  And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.

 

Romans 8:29  For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.

 

When we are conformed to His image, we then become His brethren, and we become a part of the Company of the Firstborn.  In biblical terms the firstborn has specific privileges and responsibilities.  The firstborn was presented to God and became His property.  The inheritance or birthright of the firstborn was a double portion.

 

This double-portion inheritance, as it relates to the born-again believer, guarantees kingdom blessings in this lifetime and in the eternal hereafter.  Jesus pronounced this double-portion blessing upon those who would join the Church of the Firstborn.

 

Mark 10:29  So Jesus answered and said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's,

Mark 10:30  "who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time; houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.”

 

The concept of the redemption of the firstborn was first revealed in the Old Testament when God was about to bring Israel out from under Egyptian bondage.  This great event is called the Passover when God killed all the firstborn of the Egyptians.  The children of Israel were to place the blood of a lamb on the two doorposts and on the lintels of their houses.

 

Exodus 12:12  For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.

Exodus 12:13  Now 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 the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt.

 

The blood of the Passover lamb was a foreshadowing of the blood of Jesus, the Lamb of God that would take away the sin of the world.  However, because the blood of Jesus had not yet been shed, the firstborn of Israel became the property of God Almighty.

 

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:

 

Exodus 13:2  "Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine."

 

Numbers 3:12-13  "Now behold, I Myself have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of every firstborn who opens the womb among the children of Israel. Therefore the Levites shall be Mine because all the firstborn are Mine. On the day that I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast. They shall be Mine: I am the LORD."

 

Instead of taking the firstborn from every tribe of Israel, He took the tribe of Levi.  The Levites would become the priests of God who would attend to the work of the Tabernacle. 

 

Now, we come to the part of this story that gets very interesting.  There were two hundred and seventy-three more firstborn children of Israel than there were Levites.  The Lord then instructed Moses as to how this mathematical problem would be solved.

 

Numbers 3:46-48  "And for the redemption of the two hundred and seventy-three of the firstborn of the children of Israel, who are more than the number of the Levites, you shall take five shekels for each one individually; you shall take them in the currency of the shekel of the sanctuary, the shekel of twenty gerahs.  And you shall give the money, with which the excess number of them is redeemed, to Aaron and his sons."

 

The revelation of the position of the firstborn is revealed in this transaction when God purchased two hundred and seventy-three priests (Levites) for a future purpose.  Two hundred and seventy-three represents the spiritual number of the firstborn that would become the New Testament priests of God.

It takes another Old Testament event to connect the revelation of the firstborn to the New Testament.  When Solomon finished building the temple, he dedi-cated the temple to God.  Once the Ark of the Covenant was set in place in the Holy of Holies, one hundred and twenty Levites (firstborn priests) began to praise God (2 Chronicles 5:12).  As a result of the praise of these one hundred and twenty, the temple of God was filled with His glory (2 Chronicles 5:13-14).

 

With this understanding of the  one hundred and twenty Levites, who were the firstborn redeemed by God and bought with a price, we can now take this revelation into the New Testament.

 

After the resurrection Jesus instructed His disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father.  The disciples then went up into an upper room where they continued to wait with one accord in prayer.

 

Acts 1:15  And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty).

 

We see that the one hundred and twenty priests that God purchased from the Levites are about to become the New Testament priests.  They would be the temple made without hands, and on the Day of Pentecost, the one hundred and twenty would become the Church of the Firstborn, the last days’ temple of God.  They would become the first fruits of the firstborn, those who were bought with a price, the precious blood of Jesus.

 

The events that led up to the Day of Pentecost are very enlightening.  Even after the resurrection Peter decided to return to his old profession of fishing.  This episode is recorded in John chapter 21.  Simon Peter and the boys had fished all night and had caught nothing.

 

John 21:4  But when the morning had now come, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus.

John 21:5  Then Jesus said to them, "Children, have you any food?" They answered Him, "No."

John 21:6  And He said to them, "Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some." So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish.

 

Jesus told His disciples to cast the net on the “right side of the boat.”  In other words, He was about to bring His disciples, and especially Peter, into a “right understanding” of His purposes for His church.  He had already told them that they were to become fishers of men, which the fish that they caught on the “right side of the boat” represented.

 

John 21:10  Jesus said to them, "Bring some of the fish which you have just caught."

John 21:11  Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken.

 

We now come to the unsealing of the revelation of the firstborn.  If we add the 120 who would be in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost to the 153 fish,  which represents the harvest of souls to come, we have 273.  Remember, this is the number of the firstborn that God purchased from the Levites.

 

If we subtract 120 from 153, we have 33, which is the age of Jesus at the time of the resurrection.  Jesus was the first fruits of the firstborn, followed by the 120 on the Day of Pentecost, who would be followed by the harvest to come, as represented by the 153 fish. 

 

The Hebrew alphabet letters each have a numerical value.  In the Hebrew “Beni Ha-Elohim” means the sons of God and has a numerical value of 153.

 

The sons of God are those who have been bought with a price, the blood of Jesus, and have been baptized in the Holy Spirit in the same manner that those in the Upper Room were.  These are those who dwell in Zion and belong to the Church of the Firstborn.

 

This is a revelation that was set aside for the Third Day Church.  John 21:4 tells us that a new day would come, and it is the morning of the third day that springs forth in power from the womb of the morning. (Psalm 110:3)

 

John 21:14  This is now the third time Jesus showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.

 

This event took place the third time that Jesus showed Himself to His disciples as a group, and it was His seventh appearance since the resurrection.  Once again, hidden in God’s word we have a sign post of the Third Day of Christ and the Seventh Day of God.

 

Once the fish and bread were eaten and breakfast was over Jesus prophetically spoke about the Third Day harvest as He reminded Peter that he was to be a fisher of men instead of fish.  His question which came three times was:  Peter, do you love Me more than these fish you have just caught?  Three times He spoke to Peter as a representative of the church.  He was telling us that three days of harvest would come and that His sheep must be tended in all three days.

 

In this conversation between Peter and Jesus, Peter represents the first century church (first day) when he asked a question about John.

 

John 21:21  Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, "But Lord, what about this man?"

John 21:22  Jesus said to him, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me."

 

When Jesus took some of His disciples up to the Mount of Transfiguration to show them the glory of His kingdom, he took Peter, James and John – three men representing the three days of the church.  Jesus said, “If I will that he (John as a representative of the Third Day Church) remain till I come, what is that to you?”

 

John represents the Third Day Church that will be here when Jesus returns for the Church of the Firstborn.  It is John who tells us that we are kings and priests (Revelation 1:6).  It is John who received revelation of the resurrected Christ and the end-time events of the Third Day.  It was John that was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, the Day of the Lord, the Seventh Day of God, and the Third Day of Christ.  John’s message is also our message.

 

Revelation 1:7  Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.

Revelation 1:8  "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."

 

This is the message of the sons of God, the firstborn of the Third Day.  Jesus is coming; let the redeemed say so.  Let us shout it from the mountain tops.  The Firstborn of all creation is coming for His own.  Amen.

 

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