In the previous post we had considered three aspects of the term firstborn being applied to explain the realities of the earth. It centers around Jesus Christ. As God, the Word made flesh and also as the Mediator. As God he manifested God the Father, as Word made flesh his death and resurrection made both heaven and the earth agree in him. He is therefore the firstborn of all creation. In this post we shall cover His position as the firstborn from the dead. The idea of the first born in the previous post had to do with the body with reference to Israel which is not merely flesh but also the spiritual aspects underpinning its requirements. The instance of Esau selling his birthright for a mass of pottage proved the scant regard he held for it. Carnal man places value on the flesh for satisfying its lusts and inclinations. While Jacob his younger brother had attached great value over it because it was a blessing promised to Abraham. He desired it above everything else.
‘Israel, my First born’… The sin of Israel lay in wanting to be like other nations and did not stop there. It led to the divided monarchical system since the heart of King Solomon was led away by his many foreign wives. He was seduced to idolatry. Backsliding was like a tear and by default became apostasy when Jeroboam as the king of north kingdom would install two golden calves as gods. God sent his ‘only begotten Son’ in fulness of time and he was in flesh among them. In rejecting the Servant-King the Spirit strikes a stern warning what sin had cost them: desolations from Assyria and Babylon. Perpetual shame of being scattered to four corners for having rejected prince of life was the wages of sin.
Israel was predestined in God’s favor. “For those God foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers (Ro.8:29). In rejecting him it was tantamount to Esau spurning his birthright. Jeremiah in this chapter however speaks of long-suffering God and His mercies. He declares what He shall do in the latter days. “Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry./ Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things./ For there shall be a day, that the watchmen upon the mount Ephraim shall cry, Arise ye, and let us go up to Zion unto the Lord our God(Je.31:4-7).
The same idea of first born in terms of many sons. This is determined being led by the Spirit. So the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ also covers those who have received him by faith. His Atonement was for all irrespective of Jews or Gentiles. God’s deep purpose has been revealed since the nation of Israel had rejected the Son whom He sent, The outpouring of the Spirit signaled a new body, not of the flesh but of the Spirit. “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence(Col1.18; Re.1:5).”
Prophet Jeremiah predicts safety for backsliding Israel though a remnant (‘O Lord, save thy people, the remnant of Israel -v.7′ and they shall find grace.”How long wilt thou go about, O thou backsliding daughter? for the Lord hath created a new thing in the earth, A woman shall compass a man (Je.31:22)”. It is what signifies no more tribes after the manner of flesh but part of a household covering heaven and the earth symbolized by the throne of God and of the Lamb.