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Introduction

Throughout history, many cultures have had the concept of primogeniture. In essence, primogeniture is the custom of the oldest son in a family having greater inheritance rights than any of his siblings.

The primogeniture custom was used quite extensively in medieval Europe. In particular, the oldest son of a nobleman would inherit all of the land owned by the family. This was primarily done to avoid dividing up a noble’s estate – because large estates could defend themselves better than smaller ones. In addition, the oldest son of a king would inherit the kingship – and this is still generally done in European monarchies today.

The custom of primogeniture was also present in the ancient Hebrew culture. In general, in the Hebrew culture, the firstborn son inherited authority over his family; and he also inherited more property than his siblings. Also, in some cases the firstborn son would receive a blessing from his father.

 

Is Primogeniture mentioned in Scripture?

In addition to being part of the Hebrew culture, primogeniture is also mentioned in the Bible. In fact, in some verses God explicitly commands the Israelites concerning that custom.

In many cases, people in Scripture allude to the fact that primogeniture is an existing custom in their culture. For example, Jacob refers to his oldest son – Reuben – as having naturally inherited the “firstborn” privileges, simply because he is the oldest son:

Genesis 49:3 (ESV):

“Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my might, and the firstfruits of my strength,
preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.

In addition, God Himself stated that the oldest son – of both people and animals – is sanctified (i.e., set apart) for Him. Consider these verses:

Exodus 13:2 (ESV):

“Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.”

Numbers 8:17 (NASB):

17 For every firstborn among the sons of Israel is Mine, among the men and among the animals; on the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for Myself.

Finally, God explicitly told the Israelites that the oldest son has the “firstborn” privileges; and is therefore to receive a double portion of his inheritance – even if the oldest son was born to a wife that the father did not love:

Deuteronomy 21:17 (ESV):

15 “If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other unloved, and both the loved and the unloved have borne him children, and if the firstborn son belongs to the unloved, 16 then on the day when he assigns his possessions as an inheritance to his sons, he may not treat the son of the loved as the firstborn in preference to the son of the unloved, who is the firstborn, 17 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 firstfruits of his strength. The right of the firstborn is his.

 

Exceptions to the rule

So far, the Scriptural evidence of primogeniture looks rather straightforward – the oldest son will always receive the “firstborn” privileges. However, it turns out that there are many “exceptions” to this rule in Scripture. In other words, there are many cases in which a younger son is given the “firstborn” privileges. Here are some of the more well-known examples, of younger sons being so blessed.

 

Isaac and Ishmael

Abraham’s oldest son was Ishmael – the son that he had with Sarah’s servant Hagar. As a result, one would expect that any family-related blessings would be given to Ishmael; rather than to any younger son of Abraham. However, that is not the case – God states that His covenant with Abraham will continue through his second son – Isaac:

Genesis 17:18-21 (ESV):

18 And Abraham said to God, “Oh that Ishmael might live before you!” 19 God said, “No, but Sarah your wife shall bear you a son, and you shall call his name Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his offspring after him. 20 As for Ishmael, I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly. He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. 21 But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah shall bear to you at this time next year.”

 

Jacob and Esau

The two sons that were born to Isaac were his older son Esau, and his younger son Jacob. Since Esau was the oldest son, he was naturally entitled to both the family “birthright” (the authority and property privileges), and the family “blessing” (God’s favor and protection).

However, Esau did not end up receiving either the family birthright or the family blessing. First, Esau himself explicitly sold his birthright to Jacob, for a bowl of lentil stew. Of course, this demonstrated that Esau did not really care about his birthright. Here is the passage in question:

Genesis 25:29-34 (ESV):

29 Once when Jacob was cooking stew, Esau came in from the field, and he was exhausted. 30 And Esau said to Jacob, “Let me eat some of that red stew, for I am exhausted!” (Therefore his name was called Edom.) 31 Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright now.” 32 Esau said, “I am about to die; of what use is a birthright to me?” 33 Jacob said, “Swear to me now.” So he swore to him and sold his birthright to Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.

Esau did not receive the family blessing, either. In essence, Jacob – and his mother Rebekah – tricked Isaac into giving the family blessing to Jacob. Here is the final part of the passage which describes those events:

Genesis 27:26-29 (ESV):

26 Then his father Isaac said to him [Jacob], “Come near and kiss me, my son.” 27 So he came near and kissed him. And Isaac smelled the smell of his garments and blessed him and said,

“See, the smell of my son
is as the smell of a field that the Lord has blessed!
28 May God give you of the dew of heaven
and of the fatness of the earth
and plenty of grain and wine.
29 Let peoples serve you,
and nations bow down to you.
Be lord over your brothers,
and may your mother’s sons bow down to you.
Cursed be everyone who curses you,
and blessed be everyone who blesses you!”

Also note: the above events were prophesied to occur – and, in fact, it appears that God wanted Jacob to receive the firstborn privileges. First, when Rebekah conceived, God told her that the older son would serve the younger son:

Genesis 25:21-23 (ESV):

21 And Isaac prayed to the Lord for his wife, because she was barren. And the Lord granted his prayer, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 The children struggled together within her, and she said, “If it is thus, why is this happening to me?” So she went to inquire of the Lord. 23 And the Lord said to her,

“Two nations are in your womb,
and two peoples from within you shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
the older shall serve the younger.”

In addition, the prophet Malachi speaks about God’s favor of Jacob over Esau (and the apostle Paul references this):

Malachi 1:2-3 (ESV):

“I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert.”

Romans 9:13 (ESV):

13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

So, it appears that God “arranged” for Jacob to receive the firstborn privileges – despite the fact that Jacob was younger than Esau.

 

Reuben and Joseph

Jacob himself had twelve sons; with Reuben being his oldest son. As a result, Reuben was naturally entitled to the firstborn privileges; simply because of his birth order. However, Reuben committed a serious sin – he slept with his father’s concubine – and as a result of that, Reuben lost the firstborn privileges. Jacob refers to that fact, when he prophesies over his sons near the end of his life:

Genesis 49:3-4 (ESV):

“Reuben, you are my firstborn,
my might, and the firstfruits of my strength,
preeminent in dignity and preeminent in power.
Unstable 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!

Jacob also prophesied over his son Joseph at that time. Joseph was his second youngest son – and yet Jacob gives Joseph his own personal blessings:

Genesis 49:22,26 (NASB):

22 “Joseph is a fruitful bough,
A fruitful bough by a spring;
Its branches run over a wall.

26 “The blessings of your father
Have surpassed the blessings of my ancestors
Up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills;
May they be on the head of Joseph,
And on the crown of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers.

Once again, the blessings that Joseph received were prophesied ahead of time. First, Joseph received a prophesy from God, that his older brothers would end up serving him:

Genesis 37:5-8 (ESV):

Now Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers they hated him even more. He said to them, “Hear this dream that I have dreamed: Behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and stood upright. And behold, your sheaves gathered around it and bowed down to my sheaf.” His brothers said to him, “Are you indeed to reign over us? Or are you indeed to rule over us?” So they hated him even more for his dreams and for his words.

His brothers subsequently sold Joseph into slavery; and Joseph wound up in Egypt. However, Joseph was eventually able to rise to a position of power in Egypt – and because of that, he was able to save his family from starvation. Joseph then tells his brothers that his whole ordeal was part of God’s plan:

Genesis 45:4-8 (ESV):

So Joseph said to his brothers, “Come near to me, please.” And they came near. And he said, “I am your brother, Joseph, whom you sold into Egypt. And now do not be distressed or angry with yourselves because you sold me here, for God sent me before you to preserve life. For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there are yet five years in which there will be neither plowing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors. So it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house and ruler over all the land of Egypt.

So, we can see that God appointed firstborn-related blessings to Joseph – despite the fact that he was a younger son.

 

Ephraim and Manasseh

The sons of Joseph were the older son Manasseh, and the younger son Ephraim. Jacob (Israel) also gave blessings to Manasseh and Ephraim – his grandsons. Joseph wanted Manasseh to have the “primary” blessing – since Manasseh was the older son. However, Israel explicitly placed his right hand on Ephraim (and his left hand on Manasseh) – signifying that Ephraim was to have the primary blessing:

Genesis 48:14-20 (ESV):

14 And Israel stretched out his right hand and laid it on the head of Ephraim, who was the younger, and his left hand on the head of Manasseh, crossing his hands (for Manasseh was the firstborn). 15 And he blessed Joseph and said,

“The God before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
the God who has been my shepherd all my life long to this day,
16 the angel who has redeemed me from all evil, bless the boys;
and in them let my name be carried on, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”

17 When Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him, and he took his father’s hand to move it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head. 18 And Joseph said to his father, “Not this way, my father; since this one is the firstborn, put your right hand on his head.” 19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great. Nevertheless, his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his offspring shall become a multitude of nations.” 20 So he blessed them that day, saying,

“By you Israel will pronounce blessings, saying,
‘God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh.’”

Thus he put Ephraim before Manasseh.

In addition, God Himself refers to Ephraim as His “firstborn”:

Jeremiah 31:9 (NET):

I will do this because I am Israel’s father;
Ephraim is my firstborn son.’”

The above verse is quite interesting – God refers to Ephraim as his “firstborn” son – despite the fact that Ephraim is not the oldest son! This explicitly demonstrates that firstborn-related privileges can be assigned to younger sons.

 

David and his brothers

The prophet Samuel was given the task of selecting a new king, to replace king Saul. God told Samuel that the new king would be one of the sons of a man named Jesse; however, He did not state which of the sons would be selected. So, Samuel naturally assumed that the oldest son would be selected. However, that was not the case. Here is the passage in question:

1 Samuel 16:4-13 (ESV):

Samuel did what the Lord commanded and came to Bethlehem. The elders of the city came to meet him trembling and said, “Do you come peaceably?” And he said, “Peaceably; I have come to sacrifice to the Lord. Consecrate yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice.” And he consecrated Jesse and his sons and invited them to the sacrifice.

When they came, he looked on Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” Then Jesse called Abinadab and made him pass before Samuel. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” Then Jesse made Shammah pass by. And he said, “Neither has the Lord chosen this one.” 10 And Jesse made seven of his sons pass before Samuel. And Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” 11 Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Are all your sons here?” And he said, “There remains yet the youngest, but behold, he is keeping the sheep.” And Samuel said to Jesse, “Send and get him, for we will not sit down till he comes here.” 12 And he sent and brought him in. Now he was ruddy and had beautiful eyes and was handsome. And the Lord said, “Arise, anoint him, for this is he.” 13 Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. And Samuel rose up and went to Ramah.

From the above, we see that God did not choose the oldest son to be king – on the contrary, He chose the very youngest son!

 

One final case of primogeniture

As shown above, the custom of primogeniture is used quite extensively in Scripture. That custom generally refers to a group of “firstborn” privileges – of authority, property, and blessings – that will be passed down through a family’s generations.

As the name implies, the “firstborn” privileges will normally be given to the oldest son in a family. However, Scripture contains a number of “exceptions” to that rule. There are (at least) three reasons why an oldest son might not receive the firstborn privileges:

– An oldest son can lose his “firstborn” privileges, if he behaves improperly – e.g. Esau and Reuben.

– A father (or grandfather) can reassign the “firstborn” privileges to a younger son – e.g., Jacob and Ephraim.

– And – most notably – God, Himself, can appoint a younger son to have “firstborn” privileges – e.g., Isaac, Joseph, and David.

 

The reason why the above information is important is because Jesus is also referred to as the “firstborn” in several verses. In particular, the following verse is quoted quite frequently:

Colossians 1:15 (ESV):

15 He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.

Some groups claim that that verse proves that Jesus is the very first being that God created. In other words, those groups assert that Jesus must be the very oldest being in creation – because Jesus is called the “firstborn” of all creation.

However, as shown in this post, the term “firstborn” often refers to a set of privileges – rather than to “birth order”. In particular, “firstborn” often refers to authority – as in “first in rank“. As it turns out, other translations of Colossians 1:15 make note of that very item; for example:

NET:

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation

CJB:

15 He is the visible image of the invisible God. He is supreme over all creation

Also, just three verses later, Paul himself indicates that he is speaking about authority, when he uses the term “firstborn”:

Colossians 1:18 (ESV):

18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.

 

There is one other item to consider as well. As noted, under normal circumstances the oldest son in a family will “automatically” receive the firstborn-related privileges. As a result, if a given son is the oldest son, then there is no need for his father to take any action, to pass down the firstborn privileges to him. On the other hand, if a son is not the oldest, then his father must take explicit action, to cause that son to receive the firstborn privileges.

The reason why this is important is because all throughout Scripture, we see that God explicitly grants Jesus authority over creation. If Jesus were the oldest being in creation, then there would not have been any need for God to do that. So, this indicates that Jesus is not the oldest being in creation – instead, that his life began when God caused Mary to conceive (just as 1 Peter 1:20 states).

Here are some passages – from Jesus, the apostles, and the prophets – which show us that God explicitly granted Jesus the “firstborn” authority:

Jesus:

Luke 10:22 (ESV):

22 All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”

Matthew 28:18 (ESV):

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

John 17:1-2 (ESV):

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.

Apostles:

Acts 2:36 (ESV):

36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Philippians 2:9-11 (ESV):

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Hebrews 1:1-2 (ESV):

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things

Prophets:

Daniel 7:13-14 (ESV):

13 “I saw in the night visions,

and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.
14 And to him was given dominion
and glory and a kingdom,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
should serve him;
his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
which shall not pass away,
and his kingdom one
that shall not be destroyed.

Psalm 2:7-9 (ESV):

I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break them with a rod of iron
and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”

 

Conclusion

Colossians 1:15 states that Jesus is the “firstborn of all creation” (or “firstborn over all creation”). Some groups assert that that wording proves that Jesus was the very first being that God created – i.e., that God created Jesus before He created anything else in the universe.

However, many passages in Scripture explicitly state that a son does not have to be the oldest son, in order for him to receive “firstborn” privileges. In other words, those privileges can be assigned to younger sons – and there are many Scriptural examples of that very event occurring.

Not only that, but many passages in Scripture state that God explicitly granted “firstborn” authority to Jesus. This indicates that Jesus was not the very first being that God created – because if he were, then he would have “naturally” inherited that firstborn authority.

In other words, if Jesus actually were the oldest created being, then God would not have had to “appoint” the firstborn authority to Jesus – because in that case, Jesus would have already had that authority – simply by virtue of being the oldest creature.

Hopefully this post will prove useful, if one becomes involved in a theological discussion about Colossians 1:15!

50 Responses to “Primogeniture in Scripture”

  1. on 15 Jan 2014 at 11:23 amSarah

    Very interesting article, Brian. I appreciate this concise survey of primogeniture in scripture. I had never considered how it might impact Colossians 1:15, and you make a good point that “firstborn” does not always refer to someone literally born first.

  2. on 16 Jan 2014 at 9:58 amRay

    Does God’s blessing upon the oldest son still go on today?

    I have an older brother who’s done real well with his money. He’s enjoying an early retirement. He’s the oldest of me and my brothers.

    I’ve heard a teacher say that there can be spiritual blessings upon the oldest, as well as blessings of prosperity, but if the oldest doesn’t receive or want the spiritual part, it can pass unto the next in line.

  3. on 17 Jan 2014 at 11:34 amJas

    Ray
    God would not ever bless using an economic structure that is gamed against the poor. Maybe the god of this earth(satan) would.

  4. on 18 Jan 2014 at 7:39 pmRay

    One thing’s for sure. The first one born is the first to be blessed by God in this world.

  5. on 18 Jan 2014 at 8:22 pmRay

    When I applied for a mortgage I don’t remember anyone asking if I was the first born, yet I have wondered about how God’s favor may work in those situations.

  6. on 19 Jan 2014 at 2:49 pmJas

    Ray
    Brian in my opinion provided one his best articles using only historical context ,free of doctrinal bias. His point was to explain being called the first born does not have to mean that person was born first. It can be just a title of status which is given a person.

  7. on 19 Jan 2014 at 4:09 pmRay

    I do not believe the Bible teaches that Jesus was the first created being that God made, but rather that Jesus existed with the Father from the beginning, even before the world was.

    It’s rather clear to me that Christ was with God in the beginning, dwelling with him and in him from that time we may call everlasting, long before this world was.

    Concerning men who have lived and walked this earth, Jesus was the first to exist. As far as being a being, I believe Jesus is older than anyone or anything else, excepting God of course, even though he was not born of Mary his mother until a much later time.

    I believe the Bible is rather clear on these things.

  8. on 19 Jan 2014 at 4:19 pmRay

    I believe the Bible is clear on this, that Jesus is the oldest son of God, even his only begotten Son.

  9. on 19 Jan 2014 at 4:19 pmJas

    Ray
    Actually the bible is very clear to the contrary , you just need it to say that.

  10. on 19 Jan 2014 at 6:25 pmRay

    Jas, what is it I need to say what?

  11. on 19 Jan 2014 at 6:54 pmJas

    Ray
    That Jesus is the oldest son of God which nowhere in the bible is that stated. Uniquely(only) begotten is the fact he was chosen the firstborn and appointed over the actual firstborn who gave up his status when he sinned in the garden.
    You should do some real research like many here do so you can be informed of the context of the passages you misinterpret .

  12. on 19 Jan 2014 at 9:13 pmRay

    Christ is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence to those that stumble at the word. (I Peter 2:8)

    Can anyone here give me the name of a son of God who is older than Jesus Christ, who was with God in the beginning, whom God created everything that was made through, who is the beginning of the creation of God, who is the Word of God, even the progenitive of God, who gave him power to give life to as many as he will?

    Jesus was before Adam, who made him.

  13. on 19 Jan 2014 at 9:23 pmJas

    Ray
    Yes Adam according to Luke and if you were informed many many before Jesus were called the Son of God. The 2 most well known were King David and Solomon .
    You are not kidding that “Christ is a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence to those that stumble at the word. (I Peter 2:8)” as you demonstrate .

  14. on 19 Jan 2014 at 9:52 pmRay

    Jesus who made Adam is older than Adam.

  15. on 19 Jan 2014 at 9:56 pmRay

    If Jesus wasn’t the Son of God in the beginning, then who or what was he?

  16. on 19 Jan 2014 at 9:59 pmJas

    Ray
    Jesus was born of a woman making even the woman older than him. Nowhere is it stated that Jesus made Adam. Matter of fact Paul says Jesus is second Adam which means beyond doubt Adam came before Jesus

  17. on 20 Jan 2014 at 12:26 amJas

    Ray
    Jesus was first prophesied to Satan and Eve so this was the beginning of the wait for the prophecy to be fulfilled . He wasnt even in plan till Adam sinned.

  18. on 20 Jan 2014 at 9:36 amRay

    I can’t help you Jas.

  19. on 20 Jan 2014 at 9:44 amJas

    Ray
    You might be able to if you would do some intense research instead of using your imagination.

  20. on 20 Jan 2014 at 9:55 amRay

    It looks to me like the Bible (the way it was written, and the way God made things) spoke of Christ being born of a virgin, even before Adam was made, though it wasn’t written for man to read, until long after Adam.

    Jas, Where does it say that Christ wasn’t even in God’s plan until Adam sinned?

  21. on 20 Jan 2014 at 10:22 amJas

    Ray
    The words of the bible were not even spoken till God instructed Moses to write it. The NT was not written till after Jesus. You seem to think it was written in english but fail to see that even in english not one of the translations agree with the other completely. This is because each translation is subject to the imagination and doctrines of the translator .Even the 1000’s of Greek MSS do not agree completely and most are just copies of copies. The MT disagrees with the Greek OT. This is just one reason why we should do intense research, the other is to understand the historical and cultural context that it was written with.
    Ray it does not say jesus was in plan before Adam but first is mentioned as a prophesy to Satan after he deceived Adam to sin

  22. on 20 Jan 2014 at 7:10 pmRay

    Anyone interested in seeing how God certainly may have spoken about the birth of Christ before the world was made, and Revealed how he did that long After the creation, may want to compare the first few verses of Genesis 1, with Luke 1:35.

    God has often spoken about things pertaining to Christ by symbols, types, and shadows of things. That’s one of the ways God has spoken.

    God promised eternal life before the world began. One may walk through some of what’s been spoken of in a shadow or type by considering carefully the first few verses of Genesis, what those things might represent, or be speaking of, what would happen to one known as the light of the world, after he came into the world, etc.

  23. on 20 Jan 2014 at 7:36 pmJas

    Ray
    If you consider Luke 1:35 as authenic then it speaks of the beginning of the existence of the man called Jesus.
    That is in the womb of a woman who lived about 2000 years ago. Believe it or not Ray Mary a human woman existed a generation before Jesus by your own admission . You have tried to use a verse that completely witnesses against your imagination.

  24. on 20 Jan 2014 at 9:31 pmRay

    Jas, I have no idea what you are talking about when you say I have tried to use a verse that completely witnesses against my imagination.

    What are you talking about?

    What particular verse is it that you say is a witness against what you call my imagination, and what is it you are calling my imagination? What idea is it that you say some verse is contrary to?

  25. on 20 Jan 2014 at 9:38 pmJas

    Ray
    Maybe rereading will help, then again maybe you are unwilling to reason with the clear verses.

  26. on 20 Jan 2014 at 9:51 pmRay

    Jas, in all honesty, you seem to be a barbarian to me and me to you, as if one of us is talking as a drunken man, so much so that the other can not understand a word of it.

  27. on 20 Jan 2014 at 10:07 pmJas

    Ray
    I knew better,just forgot.

  28. on 21 Jan 2014 at 7:44 pmRay

    Sometimes I look at Genesis 1 and wonder about what God was doing, and what it would have looked like, and sometimes, as far as clarity is concerned, it reminds me of an ultra-sound I saw once quite a few years ago when technology wasn’t quite what it is today.

    I mean what was God up to with water, form, earth, and whatnot?

    Why did he start things out that way? And what about the water?

    He didn’t have to start things out with water did he? What was he up to? What was he doing? What was he talking about?

    And I think he was about making a promise.

  29. on 21 Jan 2014 at 8:01 pmRay

    Greg, what might you think of someone who seems to be always telling others to use a word in a narrower or more restrictive, or in it’s stronger sense, but in conversation you would hear him use it in it’s broader sense, or at least hear him converse with someone at times who is a leader, and would not be found making any correction if he uses the word in it’s broader sense?

  30. on 23 Jan 2014 at 12:43 amScott

    If Colossians 1 does not say that Jesus is the firstborn of all creation in the temporal sense, that would make the Trinitarian intepretation of this passage the only possible alternative.

    “All things” can legitmately be interpreted to mean “all [other] things” because other is commonly ommitted in the Greek when it is presupposed or is not necessary because of the context. However, it cannot mean “some things – actually, hardly anything at all, only that which is a part of the new creation, of which only a small fragment of things that were originally created are a part.” Talk about straining the context.

    Also, notice the text does not say that Jesus was given the rights of the firstborn, nor that he was made the firstborn, nor that he became the firstborn. It just says that he is the firstborn. Hence most of the alleged OT parallels that you cited do not apply.

    If “firstborn of the dead” is to be interpreted temporally (and doesn’t mean that he is firstborn OVER the dead, or that he was just granted firstborn rights but wasn’t actually the first to conquer death), it makes more sense to interpret “firstborn of all creation” temporally as well.

    And it is clear that the original creation is being discussed, unless you want to say that “all things” are a part of the new creation and all angelic principalities and powers, including the devil himself, are part of the new creation and are going to be redeemed. In which case, I believe that you are on the wrong unitarian forum and should probably google “Unitarian Universalist” to be directed to the proper site.

    Whoever said that Jesus being called the Second Adam proves that he came into existence after Adam is quoting the Bible out of context. Jesus is second in terms of our relationship to him. He is the second covenant head of the human race. We are in Adam before we are in Christ. That is what Paul means when he calls Christ the second Adam. He is not discussing their order of their creation.

  31. on 23 Jan 2014 at 10:42 amJas

    1:15 27 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn 28 over all creation, 29

    1:16 for all things in heaven and on earth were created by him – all things, whether visible or invisible, whether thrones or dominions, 30 whether principalities or powers – all things were created through him and for him.

    1:17 He himself is before all things and all things are held together 31 in him.

    1:18 He is the head of the body, the church, as well as the beginning, the firstborn 32 from among the dead, so that he himself may become first in all things.
    Scott
    Actually Colossians 1 is stating the fact that Jesus has been appointed firstborn OVER all creation not all other,some. Yes it does state Jesus was given the rights of firstborn in verse 18 and states the reason. Romans1:1-6 is also clear Jesus was appointed,became the firstborn by the resurrection .
    Yes the is order within the statement of first and last Adam but death and life are the context which also came in order.
    As far as Unitarian Universalist you might want to research it or maybe read more of my comments. I am a strict unitarian with regard to the Most High but firmly believe in the person of The Holy Spirit and The Son. Before Jesus was appointed the head over all creation The Most High solely held that postion in which Satan,death and hell existed. While Jesus has been given authority over these ,there is still a time and place for their destruction . Yes I believe all mankind was redeemed by Jesus’Obedience and will receive Grace from certain eternal death and many purchased back by Jesus will still be found unworthy of receiving eternal life at Great White Throne judgement. The biggest difference in my belief is I beleve that Israel and those joined will receive the first resurrection which entrance will be determined by the Law God Israel to live and be identified by.

  32. on 23 Jan 2014 at 12:15 pmJas

    Brian
    1 Samuel 16:4-13 mentions nothing of Samuel expecting to anoint the firstborn of Jesse so this example is not relevant to the topic.
    Psalm 89 is very important in understanding being appointed firstborn over all creation. David was appointed this status and so was his heirs to his kingship if they continue in Covenant and not relinquished this honor. If Jesus was the firstborn from the beginning then how is it it was removed from him and given to David while he was King of the United Kingdom of Israel.

  33. on 23 Jan 2014 at 1:17 pmSarah

    Hi Scott,

    However, it cannot mean “some things – actually, hardly anything at all, only that which is a part of the new creation, of which only a small fragment of things that were originally created are a part.” Talk about straining the context.

    With respect to context, would you agree that Col 1:16 is set within a chapter focusing on the death, resurrection, and exaltation of Christ?

    Regarding the assertion that “all things” must always be taken literally, here are three verses that use the phrase in a non-literal sense:

    “And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” (Mark 9:23)

    “But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand.” (Mark 13:23)

    (3) it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus…” (Luke 1:3)

    And it is clear that the original creation is being discussed, unless you want to say that “all things” are a part of the new creation and all angelic principalities and powers, including the devil himself, are part of the new creation and are going to be redeemed. In which case, I believe that you are on the wrong unitarian forum and should probably google “Unitarian Universalist” to be directed to the proper site.

    It would seem you are faced with the same dilemma just a few verses later:

    “and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Col 1:20)

    Is every single angel and human being going to be reconciled to God?

  34. on 23 Jan 2014 at 4:52 pmtimothy

    yes Sarah,

    The first man Adam sinned and brought death to all mankind.

    The second man Adam did not sin and died when he was killed.

    The innocent man was raised from the dead by his and our GOD and father, thus becoming the firstfruits from the dead.

    Following Jesus as Lord brings the hope of becoming the next fruits from the dead.

    20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits[aparche] of them that slept[koimao].

    aparche=
    to offer firstlings or firstfruits
    to take away the firstfruits of the productions of the earth which was offered to God. The first portion of the dough, from which sacred loaves were to be prepared. Hence term used of persons consecrated to God for all time.
    persons superior in excellence to others of the same class

    koimao=
    to cause to sleep, put to sleep
    metaph.
    to still, calm, quiet
    to fall asleep, to sleep
    to die

    21 For since by man(1) came death, by man(2) came also the resurrection of the dead.

    (1)=Adam, a man

    (2)=Jesus Christ, a man resurrected

    22 For as in Adam all[pas] die, even so in Christ shall all[pas] be made alive.

    pas=
    ALL without exception
    individually
    each, every, any, all, the whole, everyone, all things, everything
    collectively

    23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits[aparche]; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming[parousia].

    parousia=
    presence
    the coming, arrival, advent
    the future visible return from heaven of Jesus, to raise the dead, hold the last judgment, and set up formally and gloriously the kingdom of God

    44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.

    45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living[zao] soul[psuche]; the last Adam(a man) was made a quickening[zoopoieo] spirit[pneuma].

    zao=
    to live, breathe, be among the living (not lifeless, not dead)
    to enjoy real life
    to have true life

    psuche=
    breath
    the breath of life
    the vital force which animates the body and shows itself in breathing
    of animals and of men
    a living being, a living soul

    zoopoieo=
    to produce alive, begat or bear living young
    to cause to live, make alive, give life
    by spiritual power to arouse and invigorate
    to restore to life
    to give increase of life: thus of physical life
    of the spirit, quickening as respects the spirit, endued with new and greater powers of life
    metaph., of seeds quickened into life, i.e. germinating, springing up, growing

    46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual[pneumatikos], but that which is natural[psuchikos]; and afterward that which is spiritual[pneumatikos].

    psuchikos=
    of or belonging to breath
    having the nature and characteristics of the breath
    the principal of animal life, which men have in common with the brutes
    governed by breath

    47 The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven.

    48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

    49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

    50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

    51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all[men] sleep, but we shall all[pas] be changed,

    men=
    truly, certainly, surely, indeed

    52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

    53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

    54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

    55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

    56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.

    57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

    58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

    Matthew 22:14
    For many are called, but few are chosen.

    MMMany are called and few are chosen.

    1 Corinthians 9:24
    Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.

    We are in a race and need take heed to not be like the arrogant rabbit, (but like Toby the Tortoise) in Walt Disney’s classic 1930’s cartoon:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DrKmpuKhKE

  35. on 23 Jan 2014 at 6:25 pmScott

    Sarah,

    The death and resurrection of Christ is not the focus of the entire chapter. The focus of the entire chapter (and of Colossians as a whole) is a refutation of the proto-gnostic heresy and its belief that Christ was only one of the lesser aeons in the pleroma.

    “All things” does not always need to be taken literally, however when describing Christ’s role in creation Paul expands it to include “all things, whether thrones, whether dominions, whether principalities, whether powers,” i.e., all angelic and celestial beings. The same qualfication is not added to verse 20.

  36. on 23 Jan 2014 at 6:31 pmScott

    Jas,

    Psalm 89 says that David was appointed firstborn over the kings of the earth. Colossians 1 does not say that Jesus was appointed the firstborn; it says he IS the firstborn.

    If the phrase “firstborn of the dead” refers to Jesus’ chronological priority in the resurrection, it is only logical to understand “firstborn of all creation” to refer to Jesus’ temporal priority in creation:

  37. on 23 Jan 2014 at 7:08 pmJas

    Scott
    First is the context of verses is the appointment of Jesus as the head heir OVER all creation by giving Jesus firstborn status. Yes Paul does address heresy in which he addresses the legalism within the Oral Law of 2nd temple judaism then moves on to some of the other sects within judaism . You should research 2nd temple judaism and their laws and beliefs before making assumptions.
    As far as Davids appointment as the firstborn .The Kings ruled over all thrones,dominions and principalities on earth yet most were all older in time. All Davidic kings were to receive this status if they maintain Covenant as David did but the next broke Covenant and Israel was divided because. While David was great he was not perfect but Jesus was perfect and was greater than David so was the reward. But the context which you ignore is status of firstborn which is not always by place in time

  38. on 23 Jan 2014 at 9:06 pmScott

    Jas,

    There is nothing in the context of Colossians 1 (the chapter we are discussing) about the Jewish oral law or about the Davidic kingship.
    I have no idea where you are getting this from.

    The context is about Christ’s role in the creation and restoration of all things.

    If you are going to insinuate that I am ignorant about second temple Judaism and have not done my research, then you need to back up those claims.

    I don’t think that Paul would jump back and forth between using the word firstborn to mean “first in status” in verse 15 and then switch to mean “first in a certain group” in verse 18.

  39. on 23 Jan 2014 at 9:37 pmJas

    Scott
    Who said it was worded that way but in chapter 2 the oral law is the context in the statement “Therefore do not let anyone judge you with respect to food or drink, or in the matter of a feast, new moon, or Sabbath days” because Proto-gnostic philosophy would have absolutely nothing to do with these. I provided you with context of what firstborn over all creation can mean when mentioning David’s appointment and never claimed it was mentioned in these verses. It was not a insinuation but an observance of your lack of cultural context.
    This verse “He is the head of the body, the church, as well as the beginning, the firstborn 1 from among the dead, so that he himself may become first in all things” is very clear that he BECAME FIRST IN ALL THINGS by being the firstborn from among the dead. Paul never switchs so you are right about that just wrong on context

  40. on 24 Jan 2014 at 11:33 amJas

    “There is nothing in the context of Colossians 1 (the chapter we are discussing) about the Jewish oral law or about the Davidic kingship.
    I have no idea where you are getting this from.”

    Scott
    You said “The focus of the entire chapter (and of Colossians as a whole) is a refutation of the proto-gnostic heresy and its belief that Christ was only one of the lesser aeons in the pleroma.” expanding the discussion to the whole book. Your claim of a refutation of the proto-gnostic heresy and its belief that Christ was only one of the lesser aeons in the pleroma is without a foundation . If Jesus was the firstborn from the beginning of creation that would make him a created god therefore lessor than his creator. Both the Oral law and how David was appointed firstborn are extremely important to the context of the subjects in the whole book.

  41. on 25 Jan 2014 at 9:18 amtimothy

    Scott,

    You have written # 35:

    “The death and resurrection of Christ is not the focus of the entire chapter. The focus of the entire chapter (and of Colossians as a whole) is a refutation of the proto-gnostic heresy and its belief that Christ was only one of the lesser aeons in the pleroma.”

    Colossians is the correction espistle for not heeding the doctrine of Ephesians.

    2 Timothy 3:16 (KJV)
    16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine(A), for reproof(B), for correction(C), for(which is) instruction in righteousness:

    (A) Ephesians=doctrine=seated in the heavenlies with Christ and with emphasis on the Body of Christ

    **the Church, the great mystery revealed**

    (B) Philippians=reproof=practical error from *failure* to do according to the doctrine in Ephesians

    (C) Colossians=correction=doctrinal error due to *beliefs* that are contrary to the doctrine in Ephesians.

    Why not focus on these:

    have been justified by the grace of God

    know that it is Christ in you

    have the hope of glory

    Why continue to live according to doctrines that are not applicable to the Church of the Body of Christ and miss out on many of the blessings and benefits that God has made available by *Grace*.

  42. on 25 Jan 2014 at 6:01 pmJas

    Timothy
    The Great mystery that was being revealed was spoken of in Hosea. The exiles of Northern and Sothern kingdoms were being revealed and the wall between them was removed. They were released from their certificate of divorce if they returned to their God by accepting their appointed King. They nolonger had to be alienated from the commonwealth of Israel if they returned. Those who did not continued to be known as not his people. Not sure where you got the ideas you expressed above.

  43. on 26 Jan 2014 at 1:15 amtimothy

    Romans 11: (kjv)
    25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

    Romans 16: (kjv)
    25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

    *the mystery* was only first revealed to our Apostle Paul

    26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith

    it was no secrete to the profits that the Gentiles would be blessed

    Ephesians 1: (kjv)
    8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

    9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

    10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

    Ephesians 3:3
    How that by revelation[apokalupsis] he made known unto me the mystery[musterion]; (as I wrote afore in few words,

    apokalupsis=
    laying bear, making naked
    a disclosure of truth, instruction
    concerning things before unknown
    used of events by which things or states or persons hitherto withdrawn from view are made visible to all
    manifestation, appearance

    musterion=
    hidden thing, secret, mystery
    generally mysteries, religious secrets, confided only to the initiated and not to ordinary mortals
    a hidden or secret thing, not obvious to the understanding
    a hidden purpose or counsel
    secret will
    of God: the secret counsels which govern God in dealing with the righteous, which are hidden from ungodly and wicked men but plain to the godly

    4 Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)

    5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

    here it is, *The Mystery*:

    6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

    It is about the church of the body of Christ to be made up of Hebrews and Gentiles, Christians.

    Now there are three types of humans:

    1 Corinthians 10: (kjv)
    32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews(A), nor to the Gentiles(B), nor to the church(C) of God:

    (A) Hebrews

    (B) Barbarians

    (C) Christs’

    John 17: (kjv)
    11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

    You write:
    “Not sure where you got the ideas you expressed above.”

    I have written:
    “*the mystery* was only first revealed to our Apostle Paul”

    Now, *while reading* the above verses, the mystery *is being* revealed to you.

  44. on 26 Jan 2014 at 11:51 amJas

    Timothy
    The mystery concerning the gentiles was amongst them were the exiles from both Nothern and southern kingdoms. These were mostly called Greeks in 1st century because they heavily populated an area from Turkey to Italy. God promised to redeem these exiles and offer them a better priesthood covenant. The heathen gentiles would also be blessed by being redeemed from the sin of Adam plus the opportunity to enter to Covenant to Abraham.
    But even though this was a gathering of the lost sheep many non -Israelites were coming to God along with the exiles which was always allowed according to Isaiah 56.
    Timothy in one of my very first straight through readings of the OT it exposed the mystery which would be revealed because God promised.
    A.jews
    1. Israelites of sothern kingdom who returned
    2. Edomites who were converted during 2nd temple
    B.Gentiles
    1.Exiles of Israel
    2. all others
    C.Church
    1,Anyone from any group who took hold of New Priesthood Covenant PROMISED to Israel.
    The most important fact in understandind Paul is to understand who were the gentiles being converted and who were the judaizers and what law they followed

  45. on 26 Jan 2014 at 1:37 pmtimothy

    Some often ask, “what about the wild man from Borneo”?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBeEZCVwX90

  46. on 26 Jan 2014 at 2:27 pmJas

    Timothy
    I am live and well living amongst you

  47. on 27 Jan 2014 at 1:14 amtimothy

    Jas,

    You, being such an accomplished historian would/should/will enjoy the new LHIM class:

    begining live, in eight days, on 4 February 2014

    *500 Class*

    Tuesday Night|7-9pm (lhim.org)

    500 years ago there was only one Christian denomination throughout most of the world. 500 years ago the church and the government killed those who resisted tradition. 500 years ago no one could read the Bible in their own language.

    How did we get from there to here? Discover the wild and exciting story of Christianity for the last 500 years so you can understand how the world ended up the way it is now, avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, and gain inspiration from heroic people who made a difference.”

    timothy

  48. on 27 Jan 2014 at 10:01 amJas

    Timothy
    I have traced the true church from the 1st century till they were persecuted out of history the last 150 years. I rather doubt your group would recognize them as the true church plus I am sure I am familiar with the groups you are refering to because some of them came out of the true church.

  49. on 27 Jan 2014 at 11:24 amtimothy

    Jas,

    Please, write a synopsis, of your humble opinion, about the “true church” you have traced and studied and are familiar with.

    I have not referred to any groups nor to anything more than the above quote from this, “kingdom ready blog”, home page: lhim.org

    Your write: “I have doubt…..”

    Well then, if you have doubt, check out the class live on line or later, as it will have been recorded.

  50. on 27 Jan 2014 at 11:49 amJas

    Timothy
    If you will search the unitarian sabbath keeping churches throughout history you will find they existed long before the reformation and the unitarian sunday keeping churches of the 16th century more than likely are an perversion because of increased persecution and a reduction in friendly governments. You can learn on your own .

  

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