Hebrews 12:23. To the general assembly and church of the firstborn registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect.
After destroying all the firstborn males of Egypt and sparing Israel, both of man and beast, the Lord claims all the firstborn males who open the womb as His own possession. To eat bread without leaven for seven days is to acknowledge what God sanctifies unto Himself as an ordinance forever. These commandments are for a memorial to the strong hand of the Lord in our life, to direct our actions in accordance with His ways, not our own ability.
Exodus 13:1-8, (abbreviated). The Lord spoke to Moses; sanctify unto me all the firstborn…remember this day you came out of Egypt, for the Lord brought you out with a strong hand, therefore you shall not eat with leaven….for seven days…and you shall tell your son in that day “This is done because of that which the Lord did unto me when he brought me out of Egypt.
Exodus 13:9. And it shall be for a sign unto you upon your hand and for a memorial before your eyes that the Lord’s law may be in your mouth; for with a strong hand the Lord has brought you out of Egypt.
Exodus 13:14, 15. And it shall be when your son asks you in time to come, what is this? You shall say unto him, with a strong hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, the house of slavery…..therefore I sacrifice to the Lord every male that opens the womb but all the firstborn of my children I redeem.
The Lord displays His strong hand in judgment against the strength of man as a display of sovereignty.
1 Corinthians 1:25. “For the weakness of God is stronger than men.”
This perception of man invested in the first born male is clearly understood in the words of Jacob in his final blessing upon his sons.
Genesis 49:3. Reuben you my firstborn, my might and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity and the excellency of power.
“The beginning of my strength” is the expression of a man’s virility.
Psalm 105:36. He smote all the firstborn in their land, the chief of all their strength.
On the other hand, God displays His might and the beginning of His strength in creation:
Isaiah 40:26. Lift up your eyes on high and behold who has created these things, who brings out their host by number; He calls them all by name by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one fails.
Moreover, this perception of the firstborn male is an expression of the pride of man. In this context, the Lord invests Israel before the witness of Pharaoh (the false man-god) with a severe warning:
Exodus 4:22&23. And you shall say unto Pharaoh, thus saith the Lord, Israel is my son, my firstborn, and I say unto you; let my son go that he may serve me, and if you refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay your son, your firstborn.
The priesthood had become exclusive to the tribe of Levi after the golden calf incident, and as a result, they took the place of the firstborn redeemed of the Lord.
Numbers 3:12 & 13. Behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that open the womb from among the children of Israel, therefore the Levites shall be mine because all the firstborn are mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast, mine shall they be: I am the Lord.
The census established the number of Levite males qualified to serve with Aaron in the priesthood, the sons of Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. The census of the firstborn males totaled 273 souls above that of the qualified Levite males, and these were redeemed by a five shekel per man redemption price.
In modern day Israel, the government mints a five shekel coin that can be purchased for a family to commemorate a son as the firstborn, by natural childbirth. Family restrictions in some countries, birth control, abortion and cesarean birth all restrict the number of firstborn males who open the womb, and the church of the firstborn.
Take heed to understand that the church is not exclusive to firstborn males of natural childbirth, but the number establishes a limit to the fullness. God has taken for Himself the firstborn as a reflection of the fact that the Son of God is the firstborn of all creation.
Luke 21:24. For Jerusalem will be trampled upon by the gentiles until the time of the gentiles be fulfilled.
Romans 11:25. As well the blindness of Israel shall only continue until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.
To be a faithful steward of the mysteries of God is to be aware of this from the scriptures. To what end is all of this concern for the firstborn, what is the Logos of God revealed to us?
Colossians 1:12-27. The Father has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light; who has delivered us from the power of darkness and has translated us into the kingdom of His dear Son, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the FIRSTBORN OF EVERY CREATURE, for by Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created by Him and for Him and He is before all things and by Him all things consist. And He is the Head of the body, the church who is the beginning the FIRSTBORN FROM THE DEAD, that in all things He may have the preeminence. Even the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints, to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
One of the clearest statements of what it means that Jesus Christ, the Son of God is The Logos from the foundation of the cosmos.
Revelation 4:11. You are worthy O Lord to receive glory and honor and power, for you have created all things and for your pleasure they are and were created.