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Updated on August 11, 2009

 The term "firstborn" appears 107 times in the NIV, but only two passages create difficulties, Colossians 1: 15 and Hebrews 1:6. Most of the other passages are in the Old Testament and refer to firstborn children of human beings.

Colossians 1:15-20 is a poem (or at least poetic prose) about Christ, which many scholars believe to be a hymn of the early church. This poem appears to revolve around the first word of the Hebrew Bible, "in the beginning"

(One word in Hebrew), which contains within it the words for "first" and "head."

The poem divides into two sections. In the first (Colossians 1: 15-17) Christ is presented as the source of creation. In the second section (Colossians

1: 18-20) he is presented as the source of new creation or redemption. It is clear in this passage that Christ is being viewed as God (Colossians 1: 15, 19)

Exercising the creative and redemptive prerogatives of God. How then can Paul use ''firstborn'' language? Generally in the Old Testament "firstborn" means the son who was born first.

However, even in the Old Testament this is more a right conferred by the father than a place in the birth order. For example, in Genesis 25:29-34 Esau can sell his birthright, his place as the firstborn, to Jacob, although this sale was apparently not recognized by their father. SEE (Genesis 27:19).

A generation later Jacob makes it clear that it is not the son born first (Reuben) whom he considers to have the rights of the firstborn, but Joseph, the one born to his favorite wife. SEE (Genesis 37:3-4). In this case a younger son is designated as firstborn.

In Micah 6: 7 and Zechariah 12: 1 0 the ''firstborn'' is the most loved child. In Exodus 4:22 we find another meaning of "firstborn" when God calls Israel his ''firstborn son." What God is saying is that he has designated this nation as his number one nation, the one closest to his heart.


Finally, in Psalm 89:27 we discover that the Davidic king will be appointed God's "firstborn." Again there is no hint that God actually has a hand in this man's procreation. What is meant is that God symbolically adopts him and places him in the number one position in his family. "Firstborn" is thus the place of honor and leadership which the Davidic king is said to occupy.

So Paul is using the language about a "firstborn" son metaphorically, as the Old Testament does. Jesus is not presented as a creation of God or as a child of God born through some goddess (as taught in pagan mythology), but as the chief of God's family, whether the old family of creation or the new family of redemption. He is before it. He is the cause of the family. He is the leader of the whole family. In every way he is first.


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    • Wehzo profile image

      Nathaniel Stalling Jr 4 years ago from Detroit, MI

      Thank you so much DeBorrah K. Ogans, sorry for taking so long to reply but I am working (Chrysler) 12 hours - 7 days. God bless you.

    • Wehzo profile image

      Nathaniel Stalling Jr 4 years ago from Detroit, MI

      Thank you so much Oscarwms for your gracious comment. God bless you.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 4 years ago

      Wehzo, Wonderful hub! Yes as you well stated; "CHRIST THE FIRSTBORN!"

      Colossians 1 contains some of the most powerful scripture in reference to Jesus Christ! His Divine nature & Supremacy are indisputable! He is the expressed "image of God" in sinless flesh! Truly HE is KING of Kings! & LORD of Lord's! "HE is Supreme over all creation!" The WORD of GOD is HIS STORY!

      Thank You for sharing, Peace & Blessings!

    • oscarwms profile image

      Dr. Oscar A. Williams, Jr. 5 years ago from PA

      "Love is Never Jealous, love does not demand his own way"

      We get into trouble when it comes to the personality of God and try to see Him in human terms. It is said over and over in scripture that God is a jealous God. As a matter of fact one of His names is "Jealous"

      God is sovereign and He does demand things His own way. His Holiness demands it. Jesus has the right of the first born simply by being God. He was the "first born" of the Holy Spirit. Even though John the Baptist had the Holy Spirit in his mothers womb, he was not born of the Spirit. He had a human father with the same sin nature as is we. Jesus was before all things and by him all things consist and are held together.

    • Wehzo profile image

      Nathaniel Stalling Jr 7 years ago from Detroit, MI

      Thank you Terry for your contribution to this hub.

      God Bless You.

    • profile image

      Terry 7 years ago

      Israel is the god of the old testaments first born son

      Christ is the God of the New testaments first born son, only born son, the first born from the dead and the first born of all creation.

      His church is the church of the firstborn

      The God of the old testament is a jealous god of sacrifice and blood who craves worship and demands his own way. He is the god who gave us the law. It is the law that condems us. This god speaks from a burning bush that was not consumed. The true god is a consuming fire. This god would not tell Moses his name nor show him his face. This a the god of this world who revealed himself in the dessert of Sin on the mountain of sin. This god killed Moses for a minor infraction and all that left Egypt with him. He lead them in a circle in the desert of sin for 40 years until they all died without ever seeing the promised land. Then he reveals himself to contend with Michael over the body of moses. what claim does he have on that body? Moses worked for him, and so he came to claim his property.

      Be not decieved.

      The God of heaven is a god of love who wishes to be a father and not a god.

      Love is Never Jealous

      Love does not demand its own way

      Jesus is the son of the true god, not the son of some deputy diety or lesser god who is in rebellion against the father of gods and the god of gods, the most high god

      and for you to be a son of the most high god you must be born again into Christ for he alone is the only and yet first of many to be born again from the dead to do the same works of Christ and even greater works

      defend the poor and fatherless

      do justice to the needy and afflicted

      deliver the poor and needy from the hand of the wicked

      mystery of mysteries, wonders of wonders

      deep calls to deep, the desire of all the ages

      hear his voice

      see his face

      know his name

      and he will call you brother

    • Wehzo profile image

      Nathaniel Stalling Jr 8 years ago from Detroit, MI

      Thanks Abrushing1968 for your comment.

      God Bless

    • Abrushing1968 profile image

      Aaron Rushing 8 years ago from USA- Florida

      Thanks Wehzo. Definitely food for thought.

      In Christ