The theme of the rejected blessing of the firstborn given to the second-born




Firstborn in the world is simple birth order and the special privilege that comes with that.

  1. "Canaan became the father of Sidon, his firstborn, and Heth" (Genesis 10:15)
  2. "Uz his firstborn and Buz his brother and Kemuel the father of Aram" (Genesis 22:21)
  3. "Now the sons of Jerahmeel the firstborn of Hezron were Ram the firstborn, then Bunah, Oren, Ozem and Ahijah." (1 Chronicles 2:25)


I. Special blessing of the firstborn:

  1. Seen as the continuation of the father's strength:
    1. "“Reuben, you are my firstborn; My might and the beginning of my strength, Preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power." (Genesis 49:3)
    2. "“But he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the firstborn." (Deuteronomy 21:17)
    3. "And smote all the firstborn in Egypt, The first issue of their virility in the tents of Ham." (Psalm 78:51)
    4. "He also struck down all the firstborn in their land, The first fruits of all their vigor." (Psalm 105:36)
  2. Double portion of inheritance
    1. "“If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other unloved, and both the loved and the unloved have borne him sons, if the firstborn son belongs to the unloved, then it shall be in the day he wills what he has to his sons, he cannot make the son of the loved the firstborn before the son of the unloved, who is the firstborn. “But he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the firstborn." (Deuteronomy 21:15–17)
  1. Succession of business or land or kingship as seen in the many world dynasties of Egypt, Babylon, Israel and the Herodians of the New Testament.


II. Firstborn is special:

  1. Firstborn and the Passover:
    1. "and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of the Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the slave girl who is behind the millstones; all the firstborn of the cattle as well." (Exodus 11:5)
    2. "Now it came about at midnight that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sat on his throne to the firstborn of the captive who was in the dungeon, and all the firstborn of cattle." (Exodus 12:29)
  2. The firstborn men had to be redeemed:
    1. "“Now when the Lord brings you to the land of the Canaanite, as He swore to you and to your fathers, and gives it to you, you shall devote to the Lord the first offspring of every womb, and the first offspring of every beast that you own; the males belong to the Lord. “But every first offspring of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, but if you do not redeem it, then you shall break its neck; and every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem. “And it shall be when your son asks you in time to come, saying, ‘What is this?’ then you shall say to him, ‘With a powerful hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery. ‘It came about, when Pharaoh was stubborn about letting us go, that the Lord killed every firstborn in the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man and the firstborn of beast. Therefore, I sacrifice to the Lord the males, the first offspring of every womb, but every firstborn of my sons I redeem.’ “So it shall serve as a sign on your hand and as phylacteries on your forehead, for with a powerful hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt.”" (Exodus 13:11–16)
    2. "“Now, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the sons of Israel instead of every firstborn, the first issue of the womb among the sons of Israel. So the Levites shall be Mine. “For all the firstborn are Mine; on the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the firstborn in Israel, from man to beast. They shall be Mine; I am the Lord.”" (Numbers 3:12–13)
  1. Firstborn animals redeemed:
    1. "“Every first issue of the womb of all flesh, whether man or animal, which they offer to the Lord, shall be yours; nevertheless the firstborn of man you shall surely redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem. “As to their redemption price, from a month old you shall redeem them, by your valuation, five shekels in silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs. “But the firstborn of an ox or the firstborn of a sheep or the firstborn of a goat, you shall not redeem; they are holy. You shall sprinkle their blood on the altar and shall offer up their fat in smoke as an offering by fire, for a soothing aroma to the Lord." (Numbers 18:15-17)
  1. Firstborn PLANTS had to be redeemed ("first fruits" of the harvest)
    1. "“You shall celebrate the Feast of Weeks, that is, the first fruits of the wheat harvest, and the Feast of Ingathering at the turn of the year." (Exodus 34:22)
    2. "‘As an offering of first fruits you shall bring them to the Lord, but they shall not ascend for a soothing aroma on the altar. ‘Every grain offering of yours, moreover, you shall season with salt, so that the salt of the covenant of your God shall not be lacking from your grain offering; with all your offerings you shall offer salt. ‘Also if you bring a grain offering of early ripened things to the Lord, you shall bring fresh heads of grain roasted in the fire, grits of new growth, for the grain offering of your early ripened things. ‘You shall then put oil on it and lay incense on it; it is a grain offering. ‘The priest shall offer up in smoke its memorial portion, part of its grits and its oil with all its incense as an offering by fire to the Lord." (Leviticus 2:12–16)
    3. "“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. ‘He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. ‘Now on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect for a burnt offering to the Lord. ‘Its grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to the Lord for a soothing aroma, with its drink offering, a fourth of a hin of wine." (Leviticus 23:10–13)


III. The pattern of the second born being blessed as the firstborn:

  1. Abel over Cain:
    1. "Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, “I have gotten a manchild with the help of the Lord.” Again, she gave birth to his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of flocks, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. So it came about in the course of time that Cain brought an offering to the Lord of the fruit of the ground. Abel, on his part also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat portions. And the Lord had regard for Abel and for his offering; but for Cain and for his offering He had no regard. So Cain became very angry and his countenance fell. Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? “If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Cain told Abel his brother. And it came about when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him." (Genesis 4:1–8)
  2. Shem over Japheth:
    1. The Bible clearly teaches in all versions, both Greek Septuagint and Hebrew Masoretic, that Shem was second born of when Noah was 502 years old.

b.      Japheth was firstborn when Noah was 500, Shem second-born when Noah was 502 and Ham the youngest. We know for certain that Shem was not firstborn as per Gen 11:10 and that Ham was the youngest as per Gen 9:24 which obviously makes Japheth the oldest.

c.       While Genesis 5:32 says Noah was 500 years old when Shem, Ham, and Japheth were born, we learn from Gen 11:10 that Shem was 100 years old in the second year after the flood when Arpachshad was born. This proves to us that Shem was not born till Noah was 502 years old and younger than Japheth.

  1. Abraham over Haran:
    1. "Terah lived seventy years, and became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran." (Genesis 11:26)

b.      The New Testament tells us that Abraham left Haran at age 75 AFTER Terah dies at 205 in Haran:

c.       “Then he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. From there, after his father died, God had him move to this country in which you are now living." (Acts 7:4)

d.      The New testament solves it for us because Abraham left Haran at age 75 when his father died at age 205: So Abraham was born when Terah was 130 years old.

e.      So we know for certain that if Terah died at age 205 which triggered Abraham leaving Haran at age 77, that Abraham was born when Terah was 130 years old.

f.        However the Septuagint translators in 282 BC did not have access to Acts 7:4.

g.       “Furthermore, there are some warnings in the biblical text that if we add up these numbers, there will be distortions and errors. Take, for example, the last one in the series of twenty VIPs: Terah. It would appear that he lived 70 years and then had triplets born to him (Gen 11:26). His total life span was 205 years (Gen 11:32). However, something does not add up, for Abram left Haran after his father died (Gen 12:4; Acts 7:4), but he was only 75 years old at time and not 135, which he should have been had the figures been intended in a way that current usage would approve! Hence, had we added up the numbers in this part of the genealogy, we would already be 60 years in error, for the text must have meant that Terah “began having children when he was 70 years old,” but that Abram was actually born when his father was 130 and not when he was 70. He was not the eldest son, but his name is given first because he was the most significant figure.” (Hard Sayings of the Bible, W. C., Kaiser, P. H. Davids, F. F. Bruce, M. T. Brauch, p 49, 1996 AD)

  1. Isaac over Ishmael:
    1. "And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before You!” But God said, “No, but Sarah your wife will bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac; and I will establish My covenant with him for an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him. “As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I will bless him, and will make him fruitful and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him a great nation. “But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this season next year.”" (Genesis 17:18–21)
  2. Jacob over Esau:
    1. "Esau said, “Behold, I am about to die; so of what use then is the birthright to me?”" (Genesis 25:32)
    2. "Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright." (Genesis 25:34)
    3. "Then he said, “Is he not rightly named Jacob, for he has supplanted me these two times? He took away my birthright, and behold, now he has taken away my blessing.” And he said, “Have you not reserved a blessing for me?”" (Genesis 27:36)
    4. "And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac; for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls, it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”" (Romans 9:10–13)
    5.  "See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears." (Hebrews 12:15–17)
  1. Joseph over Reuben:
    1. Reuben was firstborn son of Jacob but lost the blessing for sleeping with his stepmother.
    2. "Then Jacob summoned his sons and said, “Assemble yourselves that I may tell you what will befall you in the days to come. “Gather together and hear, O sons of Jacob; And listen to Israel your father. “Reuben, you are my firstborn; My might and the beginning of my strength, Preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power. “Uncontrolled as water, you shall not have preeminence, Because you went up to your father’s bed; Then you defiled it—he went up to my couch." (Genesis 49:1–4)
    3. "Now the sons of Reuben the firstborn of Israel (for he was 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 he is not enrolled in the genealogy according to the birthright. Though Judah prevailed over his brothers, and from him came the leader, yet the birthright belonged to Joseph)," (1 Chronicles 5:1–2)
    4. Joseph was firstborn of Rachel but not of Jacob.
  1. Tamar's twins: Perez over Zerah who had the scarlet thread tied on this wrist but then pulled his hand inside the womb and his second born brother came out and got the blessing.
    1. "Now Judah took a wife for Er his firstborn, and her name was Tamar. But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord took his life." (Genesis 38:6–7)
    2. "It came about at the time she was giving birth, that behold, there were twins in her womb. Moreover, it took place while she was giving birth, one put out a hand, and the midwife took and tied a scarlet thread on his hand, saying, “This one came out first.” But it came about as he drew back his hand, that behold, his brother came out. Then she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” So he was named Perez. Afterward his brother came out who had the scarlet thread on his hand; and he was named Zerah." (Genesis 38:27–30)
  1. Rachel was first chosen and favorite wife of Jacob but unloved Lea usurped her and became the mother of David and Christ who bore Jacob 6 sons including Levi and Judah.
  2. God chose the nation of Israel to be His firstborn son in spite of its late existence among many other nations that preexisted Abraham. (Ex. 4:22). “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Israel is My son, My firstborn." (Exodus 4:22)
  3. Shimri over his older brother:
    1. "Also Hosah, one of the sons of Merari had sons: Shimri the first (although he was not the firstborn, his father made him first)," (1 Chronicles 26:10)
  1. David was not first king but was chosen by God to be the anti-type of the messiah, Jesus Christ: "“I have found David My servant; With My holy oil I have anointed him, With whom My hand will be established; My arm also will strengthen him. “The enemy will not deceive him, Nor the son of wickedness afflict him. “But I shall crush his adversaries before him, And strike those who hate him. “My faithfulness and My lovingkindness will be with him, And in My name his horn will be exalted. “I shall also set his hand on the sea And his right hand on the rivers. “He will cry to Me, ‘You are my Father, My God, and the rock of my salvation.’ “I also shall make him My firstborn, The highest of the kings of the earth. “My lovingkindness I will keep for him forever, And My covenant shall be confirmed to him. “So I will establish his descendants forever And his throne as the days of heaven." (Psalm 89:20–29)


IV. Jesus Christ: the firstborn, first fruits


Supporting texts

"Firstborn of creation"

"He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation." (Colossians 1:15)

"firstborn among many brethren"

"For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;" (Romans 8:29)

"when He again brings the firstborn into the world"

"And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “And let all the angels of God worship Him.”" (Hebrews 1:6)

church of the firstborn

"to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect," (Hebrews 12:23)

Firstborn from the dead

Firstborn of the dead

"He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything." (Colossians 1:18)

"John 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," (Revelation 1:4)

Only Begotten

only one of its kind

(At resurrection)

The Greek word "monogenes" is actually a combination of two words: "monos" which means "only" or "alone," and "genos" which means "of the same nature, kind, sort, species" (Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the NT); "race, stock, class, kind" (Arndt & Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the NT and Other Early Christian Literature). It literally means "only one of its kind," and with reference to an individual it signifies that person to be a unique and one-of-a-kind being. Hugo McCord defines it as "a lone being, a unique existence, the only one of its kind, that which has no duplicate" (Gospel Advocate, 3/20/86). Jesus Christ is the unique, only one of His kind, Son of God.


"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

"No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him." (John 1:18)

"“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

"“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God." (John 3:18)

"By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him." (1 John 4:9)

"“I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, Today I have begotten You." (Psalm 2:7)

"that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘You are My Son; today i have begotten You.’" (Acts 13:33)

"For to which of the angels did He ever say, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”? And again, “I will be a Father to Him And He shall be a Son to Me”?" (Hebrews 1:5)

"So also Christ did not glorify Himself so as to become a high priest, but He who said to Him, “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You”;" (Hebrews 5:5)

"“And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘You are My Son; today i have begotten You.’ “As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’" (Acts 13:32–34)

Father/Son relationship

2 John 2; John 5:18; John 10:36 ; John 16:28; 1 John 4:14; John 6:46

"the beginning of the creation by God"

Revelation 3:14

first fruits of those who are asleep (applied to Christ)

"But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep." (1 Corinthians 15:20)

"But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming," (1 Corinthians 15:23)

first fruits of his creatures (applied to Christians)

"In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures." (James 1:18)




  1. We have been born again and have become "firstborn" and "first fruits" over non-Christians
    1. We get inheritance and blessing: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:3–5)
    2. We get kingship:

                                                               i.      "“The first appeared, saying, ‘Master, your mina has made ten minas more.’ “And he said to him, ‘Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.’" (Luke 19:16–17)

                                                             ii.      "‘He who overcomes, and he who keeps My deeds until the end, to him I will give authority over the nations; and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father;" (Revelation 2:26–27)

                                                           iii.      "‘He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne." (Revelation 3:21)

                                                           iv.      "It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself." (2 Timothy 2:11–13)

    1. Non-Christians are cast out and get NOTHING.
  1. Christ redeemed Israel from Roman occupation:
    1. Emmaus: "“But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened. “But also some women among us amazed us. When they were at the tomb early in the morning, and did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that He was alive." (Luke 24:21–23)
  1. We have been redeemed by the blood of the lamb!
    1. "For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds." (Titus 2:11–14)
  1. "See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears." (Hebrews 12:15-17)
  2. "If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God." (1 Peter 1:17–21)


Song: I have been redeemed!


By Steve Rudd: Nov 2017: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.



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