Rights of the Firstborn

To the first-born goes the birthright, the rights that come with birth.



Rights and Responsibilities of the Firstborn

Deuteronomy 21:15 “If a man has two wives, one loved and the other unloved, and they have borne him children, both the loved and the unloved, and if the firstborn son is of her who is unloved,
Deuteronomy 21:16 then it shall be, on the day he bequeaths his possessions to his sons, that he must not bestow firstborn status on the son of the loved wife in preference to the son of the unloved, the true firstborn.
Deuteronomy 21:17 But he shall acknowledge the son of the unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.

(JPS)  but he shall acknowledge the first-born, the son of the hated, by giving him a double portion of all that he hath; for he is the first-fruits of his strength, the right of the first-born is his.

This terminology is used earlier in the bible to describe Jacob’s first-born

and we see that the first-born are the firstfruits

and they are set apart and special

Example of Reuben

Genesis 35:22 And it happened, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine; and Israel heard about it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve:
Genesis 35:23 the sons of Leah were Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, and Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun;

Genesis 49:1 And Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days:
Genesis 49:2 “Gather together and hear, you sons of Jacob, And listen to Israel your father.
Genesis 49:3 “Reuben, you are my firstborn, My might and the beginning [first-fruits] of my strength, The excellency of dignity and the excellency of power.
Genesis 49:4 Unstable as water, you shall not excel, Because you went up to your father’s bed; Then you defiled it— He went up to my couch.

1 Chronicles 5:1 Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel—he was indeed the firstborn, but because he defiled his father’s bed, his birthright was given to the sons of Joseph, the son of Israel, so that the genealogy is not listed according to the birthright;
1 Chronicles 5:2 yet Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him came a ruler, although the birthright was Joseph’s

What we see then is that the right of the first-born is not set in stone

Later all of Israel considered Firstborn

Exodus 4:22 Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Israel is My son, My firstborn.
Exodus 4:23 So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn.” ‘ “

This happened – not an afterthought

Let’s see how this thought carries on – even after the exodus

Can be seen in all the festival seasons

Exodus 12 Passover institution

Redemption/Saving of the first-born

Dying of the first-born (of the world/Egypt/those in sin)

Sanctification of First Born after Passover

Consecrating/making sacred/setting apart

Exodus 13:1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
Exodus 13:2Consecrate to Me all the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and beast; it is Mine.”
Exodus 13:3 And Moses said to the people: “Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out of this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten.
Exodus 13:4 On this day you are going out, in the month Abib.
Exodus 13:6 Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the LORD
Exodus 13:8 And you shall tell your son [firstborn] in that day, saying, ‘This is done because of what the LORD did for me when I came up from Egypt.’
Exodus 13:11 “And it shall be, when the LORD brings you into the land of the Canaanites [promised land], as He swore to you and your fathers, and gives it to you,
Exodus 13:12 that you shall set apart to the LORD all that open the womb, that is, every firstborn that comes from an animal which you have; the males shall be the LORD’s.
Exodus 13:13 But every firstborn of a donkey [beast of burden; so if you need it for your livelihood] you shall redeem with a lamb; and if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. And all the firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem.

Redeem = Buy back…why? Because they are the LORD’s – the first-born are His!

Exodus 13:14 So it shall be, when your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is this?’ that you shall say to him, ‘By strength of hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Exodus 13:15 And it came to pass, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the LORD killed all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beast. Therefore I sacrifice to the LORD all males that open the womb, but all the firstborn of my sons I redeem.’
Exodus 13:16 It shall be as a sign on your hand and as frontlets between your eyes, for by strength of hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt.”

The first-born were to be bought back by means of a lamb sacrifice.

Exodus 34:18 “The Feast of Unleavened Bread you shall keep. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the appointed time of the month of Abib; for in the month of Abib you came out from Egypt.
Exodus 34:19 “All that open the womb are Mine, and every male firstborn among your livestock, whether ox or sheep.
Exodus 34:20 But the firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb. And if you will not redeem him, then you shall break his neck. All the firstborn of your sons you shall redeem. “And none shall appear before Me empty-handed.

Church is Firstborn Today

Hebrews 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,
Hebrews 12:23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,

Let’s look at how the analogy carries on

Old Testament rules were for a reason…ultimately a shadow of what was to come

Pentecost – Feast of Firstfruits

This is the harvest of the firstfruits

This is Pentecost Harvest. This is smaller first one. It is the harvest of the firstfruits of salvation of man.

James 1:18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of His creatures. [creation]

we are also the beginning [firstfruits] of our Father’s strength.

Analogies between old and new

Now notice the similarities between what the physical Israelites went through and us today

and the symbolism for now

Pharaoh is Satan
Egyptians are the world

Israel was a part of that world held captive

1 John 5:19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.
1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

We too were once this way until we were called of God

The lamb used to redeem them is Jesus Christ.

Redeemed by the lamb

1 Peter 1:18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,
1 Peter 1:19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.


(by strength of hand) the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage

Isaiah 40:10 Behold, the Lord GOD shall come with a strong hand, And His arm shall rule for Him; Behold, His reward is with Him, And His work before Him.

guiding us to the promised land

inheritance of the first-born

Ephesians 1:13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,
Ephesians 1:14 [which] is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

An earnest or down payment or deposit of the holy spirit is the guarantee of the full payment that comes when we become the firstborn of spirit.

Fall Festival

Matthew 24:31 And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

part of the better resurrection

1 Corinthians 15:20 But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.
1 Corinthians 15:21 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.
1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.
1 Corinthians 15:23 But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.

Esau Despises and Profanes


Genesis 25:29 Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary.
Genesis 25:30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.” Therefore his name was called Edom.
Genesis 25:31 But Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright as of this day.”
Genesis 25:32 And Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?”
Genesis 25:33 Then Jacob said, “Swear to me as of this day.” So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.
Genesis 25:34 And Jacob gave Esau bread and stew of lentils; then he ate and drank, arose, and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

A primitive root; to disesteem: – despise, disdain, contempt (-ible), + think to scorn, vile person.

Malachi 1:6 “A son honors his father, And a servant his master. If then I am the Father, Where is My honor? And if I am a Master, Where is My reverence? Says the LORD of hosts To you priests who despise My name. Yet you say, ‘In what way have we despised Your name?’
Malachi 1:7 “You offer defiled food on My altar, But say, ‘In what way have we defiled You?’ By saying, ‘The table of the LORD is contemptible.’
Malachi 1:8 And when you offer the blind as a sacrifice, Is it not evil? And when you offer the lame and sick, Is it not evil? Offer it then to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you favorably?” Says the LORD of hosts.

Why did he do this?
Was he really that hungry?

Lentil soup

Of course he knew

Maybe he didn’t see things moving forward with Abraham and Isaac

no vision, people perish

Dwelling like a foreigner

Malachi 1:12 “But you profane it, In that you say, ‘The table of the LORD is defiled; And its fruit, its food, is contemptible.’

Hebrews 12:16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.

Profane: relating or devoted to that which is not sacred or biblical

1 Timothy 1:9 knowing this: that the law is not made for a righteous person, but for the lawless and insubordinate, for the ungodly and for sinners, for the unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

1 Timothy 6:20 O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and idle babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge—

We cannot be profane or despise

despise not the day of small things

Once saved always saved…not

Lessons from Esau and Reuben

They were the first-born and it was taken away from them

they lost their birthright – the privileges and responsibilities that come with being the first-born

2 Peter 2:18 For when they [speaking of preachers and teachers of God’s Word; obviously it applies to us as well] speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error.
2 Peter 2:19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. [satan and unrighteousness]
2 Peter 2:20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. [committing the unpardonable sin brings the judgment of the lake of fire]
2 Peter 2:21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. [at least they would have had a chance during the second resurrection]

What is your bowl of soup?