Firstborn Sonship of Christ

Vol 27 Article 35
May 2002
The New Birth


(Article 34 Continued)

      The beginning of this article in the April issue of the paper has been revised as follows – the revision is seen in the first four paragraphs of this article.


      1 "‘Sing, O barren, you who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married woman,' said Jehovah," Isa 54:1.
      This verse provides part of the basis for the allegory of Gal 4:21-31, which is drawn primarily from Gen 16:1 thru Gen 21:12. Genesis is the book of beginnings, and though these passages in Genesis and Galatians are not the beginning of the slave son existence in God's purpose, the allegory they provide profoundly reveals this major aspect of God's eternal purpose. Here, the distinction between slave sons and free sons is set forth explicitly, and once we see the distinction clearly, it becomes obvious throughout both Old and New Testaments.
      This sonship distinction is projected clearly in many references to the firstborn son as distinguished from the other sons, Gen 27:27-37; Ex 4:22-23; Rom 8:29; Heb 12:23; etc. In these passages the faithful in Israel and the church are designated as God's covenant nation of firstborn sons. Other nations of slave sons will exist eternally during the Millennium and on the new earth, 2Pe 3:13; Rev 21 & 22. This is clearly a part of God's purpose from the beginning, Ex 19:4-6; Deu 5:6-11; 26:16-19; Ps 2:6-12; Dan 7:13-14.27.
      God's house, as referenced in 2Ti 2:19-21, refers not to the church, but to all of mankind: the vessels of honor are the firstborn divine sons, while the vessels of dishonor are the sons still and forever enslaved in mere flesh bodies to the basic elements of the universe, Gal 4:3,8; Col 2:8,20, which Hagar and the Law Covenant represented. We are commanded to exclude the vessels of dishonor out of the church, Mt 18:15-18; 1Co 5; 2Th 3:6-15.
      This last passage requires that vessels of dishonor in the church be removed from membership in the church ("withdraw from" – "do not keep company with him"). He is put out of the church, but counted as other than a firstborn son. Study Gen 27:27-37, and keep in mind that there are sons other than "firstborn" sons. Ishmael was also Abraham's son, but was a "slave" son and therefore could not share in the firstborn sonship as a "free" son who rules over the other sons. The free sons qualify to inherit God's divine nature, while the other sons will eternally be mere flesh sons and therefore slaves of the elementary laws of the universe which the allegory explicitly reveals, Gal 4:4,8,19-31; 5:1-5; Col 2:8,20. (End of revision)


      We here continue our review of Isaiah 54, in coordination with Gal 4:19 thru 5:5. The wife or concubine who has children is Hagar, who represents the Law Covenant and the covenant people (Israel) under the Law Covenant. The Law Covenant was a "a yoke of bondage." This yoke of slavery represented the first Adam in His sinful state of being after he sinned, but also in his natural state of enslavement in a flesh body even before as well as after he sinned:

1. Slavery to Sin and the Sin Nature.

      The Law Covenant was a ministry of slavery to sin through our sin nature. Paul graphically describes this slavery in Rom 7:7-25, with the conclusion that, try as best we can, we still fall short of perfection and are still enslaved in a sinful flesh body. Those under the Law Covenant were required to strive toward perfection (Rom 2 & 7), and were also required by the Law Covenant to bring sacrifices for sin to acknowledge and confess their sins and receive forgiveness, Lev 3 & 4.
      Though the Law Covenant "was not of faith," Gal 3:12; Lev 18:5, it required "faith obedience" throughout the life of every covenant person, Deu 30:5-20; Hab 2:4; Gal 3:11-12. Again, though the Law Covenant required faith for forgiveness through the Sacrifice, the Law still required every covenant person to continue striving to keep the Law Covenant perfectly, Deu 6; 28; 30; Jos 1:5-9; Gal 3:10; Ja 2:10.

2. Slavery to the Basic Laws of the Universe.

      3 "Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world," Gal 4:3; Col 2:8; 3:20-22.
      8 "Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ...
      20 "Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations,
      21 "'Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,'"
Col 2:8,20-21.
      The basic, elementary, or rudimentary laws of the universe refer to the laws of the physical universe, such as material objects, distance, heat, cold, light, darkness, hunger, thirst, fatigue, etc., currently including the laws of the universe under the curse of Gen 3:16-19, also referenced in Isa 11:6-9 and Rom 8:19-22.


      The barren wife is first Sarah, Abraham's wife, whom God held barren until she was 90 years old. The barren wife also represents the New Covenant, the New Covenant people, and the New Jerusalem. The New Covenant, however, has so far given birth to only one firstborn Son, and He is Christ.
      The rest of the New Covenant and Old Covenant faithful have not in actuality been born again. We have been born again, but only on a metaphoric and covenant positional reckoning basis, Rom 4:17; 6:2-13. 1) The metaphor is that the church is called "the body of Christ." As the body of Christ, the church is counted to be precisely what the body of Christ is in its born again divine state of being. 2) The position is "within the New Covenant" and "within the body of Christ." Being within the New Covenant means being a member of the body of Christ. 3) The reckoning is that, as the body of Christ, our bodies are counted to be deified members of the deified body of Christ: crucified, dead, buried, and raised together in the body of Christ into a deified state of being.
      However, the fact or truth of the matter is, we are still in mere physical, earthy bodies and are therefore still constantly laboring under the physical laws of the universe. Furthermore, our bodies are still in a sinful state of being, completely unfit to be the members of the deified body of Christ. It is necessary to understand that corrupt and sinful bodies cannot factually be joined into and become "one" in the deified body of Christ.
      7 "Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us," 1Co 5:7.
      If we were really "unleavened," we could not possibly purge out "old leaven." We purge out leaven because our bodies are still leavened: who shall deliver us from "this body of death?" Rom 7:7-25. We have not yet been literally "made free from sin and death," Rom 8:2. However, if we put to death the sinful deeds of this sinful earthy body, we "will live" – be divinely born again when Christ returns, Rom 8:13. But, be assured, if we live after the flesh, we shall pass from life back to death, Rom 8:13, and our earthy bodies will not be divinely born again into heavenly bodies when Christ returns, Rom 8:13-30; Jn 15:1-6; Gal 5:1-4; Heb 3:6 thru 4:11; 6:4-6; et al.
      We must seriously, urgently, and constantly be committing our body and our whole person to God as a living sacrifice, not being conformed to the world, but being transformed by the renewing of our minds in order to prove (dokimazein, put to the test and prove) what is the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.


      27 "For it is written: ‘Rejoice, O barren, You who do not bear! Break forth and shout, You who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children Than she who has a husband,'" Gal 4:27; Isa 54:1.
      We do not find these words written in Genesis while Sarah was still alive. In fact, Isaac was the only son Sarah ever had. Sarah represents the nation of Israel, especially the faith seed of Abraham who endure the required covenant disciplinary training and thereby qualify for the firstborn sonship and its birthright promise of inheritance of the fullness of God's nature, Gen 15:1; Ps 17:15; Isa 28:16-17; 48:8-12; 54:17; Eph 4:11-24; Phi 3:7-14,21; 2Pe 1:3-10.
      9 "After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands," Rev 7:9.
      These are the many more children of Sarah who was barren, which barrenness was a major and grievous part of her covenant testing and approval. Sarah, like her descendant, Hannah, experienced great bitterness of spirit, 1Sa 1:9-16.
      11 "By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful who had promised.
      12 "Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude - innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.
      13 "These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.
      14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.
      15 :And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out, they would have had opportunity to return.
      16 "But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them,"
Heb 11:11-16.
      This world is filled with people who seek their own glory and take pleasure in things that please their sinful nature. But God loves those who listen, learn, then fear and obey His righteous laws with all their being, Ps 119. We must maintain a very keen sense of fear of the coming eternal judgments of God, and set our affections on the sure promises of His Word as illustrated in Hebrews 11.


      5 "For your Maker is your husband, The LORD (Jehovah) of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God (Elohim) of the whole earth," Isa 54:5.

1. The Messiah (Christ) Is the Son of David.

      41 "While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
      42 "Saying, ‘What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?' They said to Him, ‘The Son of David,'" Mt 22:41-42.
      Even the Pharisees understood this, and they were quite blinded according to the Scriptures, Isa 6:9-13; Mt 13:10-17. Every Israelite should have known that the Messiah (Christ) would be the Son of David, Mt 22:41-46; Ps 89; 110:1-4; Isa 11:1-10; 9:6-7; Jer 23:5-8; 33:15-16; et al.

2. The Messiah Is the Son of God.

      5 "For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth," Isa 54:5.
      6 "For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
      7 "Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this,"
Isa 9:6-7.
      41 While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
      42 Saying, ‘What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?' They said to Him, ‘The Son of David.'
      43 He said to them, ‘How then does David in the Spirit call Him 'Lord,' saying:
      44 'The LORD said to my Lord, ‘Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool?'
      45 "If David then calls Him 'Lord,' how is He his Son?'
      46 "And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore,"
Mt 22:41-46.
      These are only three of many such passages that we have been drawing from the Scriptures which show clearly that the Messiah would be the Son of God: God in a human body.

3. The Messiah Is the Redeemer.

      5 "For your Maker is your Husband, the LORD (Jehovah) of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God (Elohim) of the whole earth," Isa 54:5.
      25 "For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth;
      26 "And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God,
      27 "Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!"
Job 19:25-27.
      These words of Job diffuse a sweet aroma of reassuring confidence on the part of Job that he understood what the animal sacrifices were meant to signify. Every morning or however often it might have been, he arose and offered those animal sacrifices by which Noah so pleased the Lord, Gen 8:20-22; Job 1:5. This most righteous man on the earth in his day, Job 1:8, obviously understood that; 1) these sacrifices represented His divine Redeemer, 2) his Redeemer would be the Seed of the woman (Gen 3:15), 3) would die for the sins of the human race, 4) would be raised back to life in a divine body, and 5) would stand on the earth in the latter day in glorious victory over Satan, sin, and death.
      Job understood what Moses later wrote, that the sacrificial animals represented the Messiah, as the Redeemer obviously taught Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The Messiah slew the animals as sacrifices and clothed Adam and Eve with their skins. This shows from the beginning that God intended for clothing to cover the nakedness of this sinful flesh body.

4. The Messiah Is the Testator, Who Must be the Seed of the Woman, Whose Body Must also Die, be Buried, and Rise Again to Divine Life.

      16 "For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
      17 "For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.
      18 "Therefore not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood.
      19 "For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people,
      20 "Saying, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded you,'
      21 "Then likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the vessels of the ministry.
      22 "And according to the Law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission."
Heb 9:16-22.
      Shedding the blood of the ani-mals in the Garden of Eden and clothing Adam and Eve with their skins was a visible demonstration (obviously with explicit instructions) of the life, death, burial, and resurrection in divine life of the Messiah as well as all those who would believe and obey thereafter. God's eternal purpose, as seen in the "tree of life," consisted primarily in the gift of the fullness of God's divine nature for all who will learn, believe, and obey through God's covenant training.
      The Testator must 1) become the sinless Seed of the woman, 2) persevere through a life portrayed by an unblemished animal for sacrifice, 3) die for the sins of Adam and his descendants, 4) conquer death through resurrection into the divine life promised in the tree of life, 5) crush Satan, sin, and death, 6) redeem into divine oneness all who learn, believe and obey, and 7) demonstrate God's righteous rule over sinful nations of men. In this way the Testator executes God's wrath on the vessels of wrath, and His mercy on the vessels of mercy. This is sufficiently revealed in Gen 2 and 3 and throughout the Old Testament.

5. The Messiah and His Gospel Portrayed through the Flood in Noah's Day.

      18 "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,
      19 "By whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison,
      20 "Who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.
      21 "There is also an antitype which now saves us - baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,"
1Pe 3:18-21.
      Baptism does not save from hell. There will be nations of people saved from hell and the lake of fire, and which nations will dwell on the new earth, "in which dwells righteousness," 2Pe 3:13. Surely the whole face of the new earth will not be the lake of fire, as a blazing hot star. That would be worse than the Millennial earth where the curse is lifted and is represented as sharing "the freedom of the sons of God," Rom 8:19-22.
      The flood in Noah's day destroyed the degenerated society of mankind, and brought in a new start. 1Pe 3:21 says that flood serves as an antitype along with water baptism. The flood was a type and baptism is also a type. Nations of slave sons will be saved through the Millennium and into the new earth: there are "no nations in Christ," Gal 3:28; Col 3:1.
      However, baptism is an instrument of covenant salvation: salvation of the firstborn sons who will share in Christ's divine firstborn sonship. When Adam and Eve were clothed with the skins of the sacrificial animals, they "put on" Christ, as the bride of Christ will be clothed in the righteousness of Christ which is the righteousness of God, Mt 6:33; 2Co 5:21; Phi 3:9; Rev 19:7-8; et al.
      Baptism itself does not provide covenant salvation, but one cannot have covenant salvation without it. Covenant salvation is over and above salvation from hell. The nations on the new earth will be saved from hell, but they will not have covenant salvation, which provides the firstborn sonship over and above the other sons, Gen 27:27-37. Romans 8:28-30 requires a daily (constant) putting to death the deeds of the flesh, Rom 8:6,13,17,23-28,36.
      36 As it is written: ‘For Your sake we are killed all day long; We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter,'" Rom 8:28.
      Water baptism requires a constant "putting off" of the old man and "putting on" of the new firstborn sonship, Rom 4:17; 6:3-6; 12:1-2; 2Co 3:17; 3:7-12; Eph 4:44-24; Col 3:1-10. Adam and Eve were required to keep those "skins" on. We are also required to keep ourselves decently clothes (physically and spiritually), that our nakedness should not appear. God did not create the sunlight and the beaches for naked people.


      5 "For your Maker is your husband, the LORD (Jehovah) of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God (Elohim) of the whole earth," Isa 54:5.
      31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.
      32 "This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church,"
Eph 5:31-32.
      The bride is Israel in the Old Testament, while the bride is the church in the New Testament. That is what we have been taught, and though that is correct, it is not fully what the Bible teaches. The church is the bride in the New Testament only because God has temporarily rejected Israel and grafted the church into Israel's covenant position, Rom 11:11-32. Israel will be brought to repentance and grafted back into her covenant position (Rom 11:11-32), and the church and Israel will be one and the same body of Christ:
      12 "That at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
      13 "But now in Christ Jesus
(in the body of Christ) you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
      14 "For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation,
      15 "Having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create IN HIMSELF one new man from the two, thus making peace,
      16 "And that He might reconcile them both to God IN ONE BODY through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity,"
Eph 2:12-16.
      6 "That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the SAME BODY, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the Gospel," Eph 3:6.
      God will reconcile both Jew and Gentile "in one body," and that body is the body of Christ, a true local church. Both the faithful covenant Jews and the faithful covenant Gentiles will be one and the same body of Christ after Christ returns. As we eat the body of Christ and drink His blood (typified in both the Passover and the Lord's Supper), we symbolize becoming "one body" with Christ, or "one body" of Christ, or "one body" as the deified flesh body of Christ, 1Co 5:6-7; 10:16-18; 11:27-29.
      In the Passover, Israel ate the Passover lamb, ate the unleavened bread, and drank the Paschal wine. The Passover lamb represented the body of Christ, as the unleavened bread does in the Lord's Supper, and the Paschal wine represented the fruit of the vine as we observe in the Lord's Supper, 1Co 5:7; 10:16-18; 11:23-29. In doing this properly in the Passover, Israel discerned the Lord's body, just as we do. They were partaking of the lamb which represented the body of the Messiah (Christ), 1Co 10:16-18.
      When Israel ate the manna (Ex 16), and when the priests ate of the food offering (Lev 2), the peace offering (Lev 3), the sin offering (Lev 4), the trespass offering (Lev 5), etc., they were symbolically eating of the body of Christ. The Levitical priests repre-sented the whole nation of Israel, as the firstborn nation of firstborn sons of God, Ex 4:22-23; 11; 12; Num 3:12-13,40-51; 8:14-18. In the New Testament, true church members are called the firstborn sons of God – they are God's elect, and must make their calling and election sure, as has always been the case in election and predestination, Rom 11; Col 3:15; 2Pe 1:3-10; et al.


      8 "‘With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,' says the LORD, your Redeemer.
      9 "' For this is like the waters of Noah to Me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah would no longer cover the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be angry with you, nor rebuke you.
      10 "‘For the mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed,' says the LORD, who has mercy on you,"
Isa 54:8-10.
      This is covenant disciplinary training for the covenant people, requiring faithful service by grace through faith, in order to receive the birthright of the divine firstborn sonship. Woe be to those who misunderstand and thereby wrest God's Word in their misguided efforts to give every believer the birthright of firstborn sonship upon the first act of faith in God and Christ. The divine firstborn sonship and its birthright is promised only to those who believe and meticulously obey the Word of God throughout their lives by grace through faith, Gen 27:27-37; Ex 19:4-6; Ex 26:16-19; Rom 11; 1Co 9:23 thru 10:13; Phi 3:7-14,21; Heb 3; 4; 12; 2Pe 1:1-11; et al.

1. A Wife Forsaken and Grieved in Spirit.

      6" For the LORD has called you like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a youthful wife when you were refused," says your God," Isa 54:6.
      Israel, as a nation, was the Messiah's espoused bride, but she went whoring after Satan's world of earthy idols and selfish interests. She is a covenant bride under covenant discipline, therefore Jehovah (her Messiah) chastened her again and again. Now she has been banished from her land and scattered into all nations in bitter anguish for two thousand years.

2. With Great Mercies I Will Gather Thee.

      7 "For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you," Isa 54:7.
      As a nation, as the bride of her Maker (Isa 54:5), and in her selfish and froward blindness, Israel rejected and crucified her divine Messiah. And in the zenith of yearning human compassion, He paused for a moment on the brow of the Mount of Olives and wept sorely over her miseries both past and future.
      37 " O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!
      38 "See! Your house is left to you desolate;
      39 "for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!'"
Mt 23:37-39.
      Now, her Jehovah Messiah is at the threshold of return. Her anguish is great, with the worst yet to come, but her rejection is about over. As she grieves bitterly in the throes of birth pangs, her Groom will bring her to the birth. How very glorious it will be before all creation!

3. I Will Lay Her Stones with Fair Gems.

      11 "O you afflicted one, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay your stones with colorful gems, and lay your foundations with sapphires.
      12 "I will make your pinnacles of rubies, your gates of crystal, and all your walls of precious stones.
      13 "All your children shall be taught by the LORD, and great shall be the peace of your children,"
Isa 54:11-13.
      She is built with pure transparent gold, her foundations are decked with every precious gem, her gates are made of giant pearls, and the river of the water of divine life will flow through her broadways, clothes with the tree of life constantly blossoming and bearing its twelve manner of divine fruits. And best of all and forever, the throne of Jehovah Elohim is affectionately, fully, and eternally embraced within her heart.


      14 "'In righteousness you shall be established; You shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; And from terror, for it shall not come near you...
      17 "No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is from Me,' says the LORD,"
Isa 54:17.
      7 "But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
      8 "Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.
      9 And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith,"
Phi 3:9.
      The clothing of the bride is the righteousness of God, Rev 19:7-8; Phi 3:9; Mt 6:33. The righteous deeds of the bride people are the workings of the Holy Spirit in and through us. All our righteousness are as filthy rags (Isa 64:6), therefore we have no righteousness. The covenant people must be seeking God's righteousness throughout our lives (Mt 6:33), earnestly waiting for it (Gal 4:5), and will therefore be crowned with God's divine righteousness when Christ returns, 2Ti 4:6-8.
      Three things among others are urgently significant here: 1) we have no righteousness before God, because all our righteousness are as filthy rages in God holy presence, Isa 64:6, 2) the righteousness we are to seek throughout our lives is future - when Christ returns, 2Ti 5:8, and 3) this righteousness is God's righteousness, one of His divine attributes, Mt 6:33.
      It remains then that we must be born into that divine state of being as Christ's body was in His resurrection, 1Co 15:44-50. The new birth includes both our body and spirit and it will happen when Christ returns.