The Church of the Firstborn and the 50th Book

Fred R. Coulter—June 14, 1997

pdficon small - PDF | Audio | [Up]

Track 1 or Download
Track 2 or Download

What we're going to cover today is going to be a very interesting, informative and also, I think, a great deal of new understanding concerning the firstborn and concerning the Church that is those who will be in the first resurrection.

We know that the Scriptures tell us that there is always the physical and then the spiritual. Let's see where Paul mentions that in the resurrection chapter (1-Cor. 15). That there is first the physical or the earthy, and then there is the spiritual. It also ties in with:

  • Adam
  • the firstborn
  • the Old Covenant
  • the New Covenant

and what that relates to concerning Pentecost, which is tomorrow.

1-Corinthians 15:46: "However, the spiritual was not first, but the natural… [physical] …then the spiritual. The first man [Adam] is of the earth—made of dust. The second Man is the Lord from heaven" (vs 46-47).

Of course, then He was made a 'quickening spirit' at the resurrection. This is a combination of some things that I have brought out in relationship to Gen. 15. Do you rejoice with the enemies of Jesus Christ?

Much of the information that I have here was passed on to me by Dwight Blevins, who also between the time that I gave those things and now, has thought about the14th Passover and the firstborn. In order to understand the 14th Passover and the firstborn we also have to understand how that relates to Pentecost. We also have to understand how that relates to what was done in the Old Covenant and then what is going to happen in the New Covenant.

Let's first of all begin with Abraham. What we're going to do is see that there was a series of firstborn. In going through this, let's understand firstborn is not calculated from the father. Firstborn is calculated from the mother. When it is the firstborn of the father, such as with God the Father and Jesus Christ, it was His only begotten or the first begotten. Then it refers to the father but in this case firstborn refers to the mother.

When Abraham was first called, he was called Abram. In Gen. 11 we find out that Abram was the firstborn. I want us to follow this carefully as we go all the way down through this because there are an awful lot of parallels that we need to understand.

Genesis 11:27: "Now, these are the generations of Terah: Terah begat Abram, Nahor and Haran. And Haran begat Lot." So, Abraham was the firstborn, and we know the promise that was given to Abraham:

Genesis 15:4: "And behold, the Word of the LORD came to him saying, 'This man shall not be your heir; but he that shall come forth out of your own loins shall be your heir.' And He brought him outside and said, 'Look now toward the heavens and number the stars—if you are able to count them.' And He said to him, 'So shall your seed be.' And he believed in the LORD. And He accounted it to him for righteousness" (vs 4-6).

We also find something very important here: the child of promise is Isaac, the firstborn of Sarah. Not the firstborn of Abraham but the firstborn of Sarah and the one to whom the promise was given.

Genesis 21:1: And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said. And the LORD did to Sarah as He had spoken, for Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him. And Abraham called the name of his son that was born to him (whom Sarah bore to him) Isaac. And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac, when he was eight days old, as God had commanded him" (vs 1-4). Isaac was the firstborn!

Now when we come to Jacob we have a little break in the pattern. We will see that that break in the pattern also happen to Aaron and Moses, but nevertheless, not in quite the same way. We find about Esau and Jacob.

Genesis 25:19: "And these were the generations of Isaac, Abraham's son. Abraham begat Isaac. And Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, the daughter of Bethuel the Syrian of Padan Aram, the sister of Laban the Syrian. And Isaac prayed to the LORD for his wife because she was barren…. [much the same circumstances as with Sarah] …And the LORD heard him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. And the sons struggled together within her. And she said, 'If it is well, why am I this way?' And she went to inquire of the LORD. And the LORD said to her, 'Two nations are in your womb, and two kinds of people shall be separated from your belly. And the one people shall be stronger than the other people, the older shall serve the younger.'" (vs 19-23).

We find a case very similar to this where the firstborn of Jacob was Ruben. But Ruben lost his firstborn right because he went up on his father's bed. So then, Joseph was the firstborn of the second wife and he became the one to receive the promise of inheritance. It's very important to understand that the firstborn was to receive the promise of the inheritance!

Let's see how this ties in with the firstborn. Then we will tie that in with the 14th Passover and understand that very clearly and then we will tie that in with the New Testament Church as we go along. Exodus 4—God's statement concerning Israel; He says concerning firstborn that He makes and designates firstborn in several instances for a particular purpose.

Exodus 4:21: "And the LORD said to Moses, 'When you go to return into Egypt, see that you do all those wonders which I have put in your hand before Pharaoh; but I will harden his heart, that he shall not let the people go. And you shall say to Pharaoh, "Thus says the Lord, 'Israel is My son, My firstborn'"'" (vs 21-22).

He's talking about all of Israel in this particular case, all of the 13 tribes. Because remember the blessing that Jacob gave to Joseph's two sons Ephraim and Manasseh made them the same as the sons of Israel. So, now we have 13 tribes. The whole of Israel then was set aside as the firstborn of God as a nation!

That's why when we come to Exo. 19 God told Israel, the firstborn nation… We're going to see a parallel here in the pattern, because this applied to Israel under the covenant with Israel. We're going to see that spiritually this will apply to the Church, but there are some other things that have to take place relating to the firstborn and relating to Israel that is relating to the Church and Jesus Christ.

Exodus 19:5: "Now, therefore, if you will obey My voice indeed, and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a Holy nation" (vs 5-6).

God intended to use Israel as His firstborn for a special firstborn mission to go out into the world and make the world understand about God. They were to act as:

  • priests in a spiritual sense
  • leaders in economics
  • leaders in government
  • leaders in everything

according to the pattern of God!

If Israel would have done what she should have done then the whole course of history would've been entirely different. But sin entered in and cause the problems. So, Israel as firstborn has the firstborn mission of being a nation of priests and kings. Also we find that the blessing was given to Sarah that out of her would come kings and nations, and so forth.

Let's come back and look at Moses and Aaron. We find the firstborn and a second born relationship here, too.

Exodus 6:20: "And Amram took Jochebed, his father's sister, for his wife. And she bore him Aaron and Moses. And the years of the life of Amram were a hundred and thirty-seven years." Then it lists all the rest of them.

Exodus 7:6: "And Moses and Aaron did as the LORD commanded them; so they did. And Moses was eighty years old, and Aaron was eighty-three years old, when they spoke to Pharaoh" (vs 6-7).

So, Aaron was the firstborn! That's very important when we understand about the priesthood. But also we find, just like with the firstborn of Ruben and Joseph, Joseph took the preeminence over Ruben even though in this case Aaron did not disqualify himself from being firstborn. We're going to see that Aaron's situation in relationship to the priesthood and the Levites and the firstborn becomes very profound for us to understand, and that in relationship to the 14th Passover.

So, Aaron was the firstborn; he was the one who was chosen as high priest. But Moses, the second born, was the one who had the direct contact with God. We see that pattern also happen as we go through the New Testament and the Old Testament, as well.

Now let's see about the Passover, which fits very prominently into this. This is why the 14th Passover, and keeping it the way that it should be kept, according to the Biblical instructions on the night of the 14th is very important. It has a great deal to do with the Church of God, a great deal to do with those in the Church of the Firstborn, which the Church of God is called.

Now we'll see how that fits. Let's see exactly what God said would happen here, the command that was given. They were to take the lamb, they were to select it on the 10th of the month. We'll see that pattern when we come to the New Testament concerning Christ. They were to select it on the 10th of the 1st month, they were to kill it between the two evenings at the beginning of the 14th day of the 1st month, and they were to take the blood and put it on the signpost and on the lentil.

This was to spare the firstborn of Israel, Exodus 12:11: "…It is the LORD'S Passover, for I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast. And I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD" (vs 11-12).

When God finishes something and emphasizes it with:

  • I am the LORD
  • Thus saith the LORD
  • by Myself I have sworn

We need to really pay attention, because that's very emphatic in way that God is saying it. In other words God is basing this Passover on His very existence! He is the Lord, not any of the gods of Egypt. Then:

  • God's day
  • God's way
  • God's time

must always be considered in this.

Verse 13: "And the blood shall be a sign to you upon the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you…." Meaning He would not smite the firstborn. That's very important for us to understand, because we want to emphasize the firstborn.

"…And the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you when I smite the land of Egypt" (v 13).

Let's see some more of the instructions given. Remember the Passover night, midnight on the 14th, is when God went through the land and killed all the firstborn of Egypt. They have to have the special protection by taking the Passover on the 14th. God would Passover. Let's read the more detailed instructions:

Verse 21: "Then Moses called for all the elders of Israel and said to them, 'Draw out and take a lamb for yourselves according to your families, and kill the Passover lamb. And you shall take a bunch of hyssop and dip in the blood that is in the bowl, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood in the bowl. And none of you shall go out of the door of his house until sunrise'" (vs 21-22)—or dawn.

Verse 23: "'For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians. And when He sees the blood upon the lintel, and on the two side posts, the LORD will pass over the door, and will not allow the destroyer to come into your houses to strike you. And you shall observe this thing as a law to you and to your children forever. And it shall be when you have come to the land, which the LORD will give you, according as He has promised that you shall keep this service. And it will be, when your children shall say to you, "What does this service mean to you?" Then you shall say, "It is the sacrifice of the LORD'S Passover, Who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when He struck the Egyptians and delivered our houses."' And the people bowed their heads and worshiped. And the children of Israel went away and did as the LORD had commanded Moses and Aaron; so they did" (vs 23-28).

Now then, something else happened, something else was special. God did several things. Let's see what God did. On that Passover night at midnight something else happen. It has to do with the firstborn and the priesthood. Remember, Aaron was the firstborn. Now let's see what happened with the rest of the Levites.

Numbers 3:11: "And the LORD spoke to Moses saying, 'And I, behold I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that open the womb among the children of Israel. Therefore, the Levites shall be Mine, because all the firstborn are Mine….'" (vs 11-13).

We're going to see when that occurred. And were going to see something very interesting and also very profound as it relates to Jesus Christ as our Passover.

"…On the day that I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I set apart to Myself all the firstborn in Israel… [He set them aside] …both man and beast. They shall be Mine. I am the LORD" (v 13).

How did God take care of that? Here's what they were to do: Not only did He protect all the firstborn of Israel He hallowed them. But now something else was going to happen because the firstborn were to be redeemed. Let's see what God said concerning the firstborn right after the Passover. He gave this on the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread so they would have these instructions.

Exodus 13:1: "Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 'Sanctify all the firstborn to Me, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel… [firstborn is reckoned from the mother] …of man and of beast. It is Mine'" (vs 1-2).

They were also to continue this when they went into the land, v 12: "You shall set apart to the LORD all that opens the womb, and every firstborn that comes of any animal which you have; the males shall be the LORD'S. And every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb…." (vs 12-13). This is also a type of later Christ redeeming those who were considered by Israel unclean people, the Gentiles.

"…And if you will not redeem it, then you shall break its neck. And all the firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem" (v 13).

This is very important for us to understand. Because brethren we are the Church of the Firstborn, as we're going to see. And we are going to see that there is a great deal that we need to understand concerning Aaron and the firstborn who himself was firstborn, and Jesus Who was Firstborn, and those of us who are of the Church of the Firstborn. All of this fits together.

Verse 14: "And it shall be when your son asks you in time to come, saying, 'What does this mean?'…. [the giving of the firstborn] …you shall say to him, 'The LORD brought us out of Egypt by the strength of His hand, from the house of bondage. And it came to pass when Pharaoh would hardly let us go, the LORD killed all the firstborn of the land of Egypt, both the firstborn of man, and the firstborn of animals. Therefore, I sacrifice to the LORD all that opens the womb that are males. But all the firstborn of my sons I redeem'" (vs 14-15). I want to emphasize the firstborn are redeemed.

Not all firstborn were males; the firstborn female then was dedicated to be used at the Feasts. There's something also very important that we need to understand concerning the firstborn in relationship to the Passover. From the first Passover there on, no firstborn male was ever used for the Passover! Why? Because it was dedicated and taken and given to the priesthood and to the Levites!

Therefore, with the domestic Passover—which it should always have been—they could not use a firstborn animal for the Passover except when they were in the land of Egypt when they could have used the firstborn at that time, because God had not yet set aside the firstborn. We see that God set aside the firstborn, both man and beast, in Israel the night that He passed over the firstborn of Israel. So, there's a special blessing. There is a special thing that comes with the firstborn, both of man and of beast, under the Old Covenant.

Let's see what God did. Were going to find some very interesting things concerning this and how God did it and what was done and so forth.

Numbers 3:40: "And the LORD said to Moses, 'Number all the firstborn of the males of the children of Israel from a month old and upward, and take the number of their names.'"

They were counting all the firstborn in Israel. Remember that God said, 'The firstborn of your children being male you shall redeem. All were dedicated to Him.

Verse 41: "I am the LORD, you shall take the Levites for Me, in the place of all the firstborn among the children of Israel; and the domestic livestock of the Levites instead of all the firstlings among the livestock of the children of Israel.'"

God said to number the firstborn among Israel and then 'I'm going to take all the Levites' who were not all firstborn. 'I will count them as firstborn being the redemption of the firstborn in Israel.' What were they redeem for and set aside for? For a Holy purpose of ministering and serving God!

Verse 42: "And as the LORD commanded him, Moses numbered all the firstborn among the children of Israel. And all the firstborn males by the number of names, from a month old and upward, of those numbered of them, were twenty-two thousand two hundred and seventy-three. And the LORD spoke to Moses saying, 'Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the domestic livestock of the Levites instead of their domestic livestock. And the Levites shall be Mine. I am the LORD. And for those that are to be redeemed of the two hundred and seventy-three of the firstborn of the children of Israel, who are more than the Levites'" (vs 42-46).

When they numbered the Levites there were exactly 22,000 Levites. Now all the firstborn in Israel were 22,273.

Verse 47: "You shall even take five shekels each by the head…" They were also to be redeemed. Since they couldn't be redeemed person for person because you had a deficiency of the 273 altogether. So then they redeem these with money and gave the money to the Levites.

Verse 48: "'And you shall give to Aaron, and to his sons, the silver of the redeemed left over among them.' And Moses took the redemption silver from those who were over and above the ones who were redeemed by the Levites. He took the silver from the firstborn of the children of Israel: one thousand three hundred and sixty-five shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary" (vs 48-50).

This also becomes important when we understand about Christ little bit later on. What do we have we here? We have Aaron who is the firstborn, who is the high priest, and through Aaron the whole Levitical system came. So, the priesthood of Aaron being firstborn, then all of the Levites were counted as firstborn.

Now let's see something very interesting here concerning this and how we carry this forward and how it works in the way that God wants to do to be. Let's see the parallel now. Let's look at the comparison of the priesthood of Aaron; important for us to understand, because it was a type of the priesthood of Christ. We're going to see the parallels between the firstborn and the firstborn of the firstborn as it was with Aaron. And then the firstborn of Christ being the firstborn of the firstborn in relationship to us and what that will be.

Let's see that it was on the priesthood of Aaron that the whole Levitical system was given. Then we'll get our first glimpse at the difference between the priesthood of Christ after the order of Melchizedek and the priesthood of Aaron the Levitical priesthood.

Hebrews 7:5: For on the one hand, those from among the sons of Levi who receive the priesthood are commanded by the law to collect tithes from the people—that is, from their brethren—even though they are all descended from Abraham; but on the other hand, He Who was not descended from them… [Melchizedek the One Who became Christ] …received tithes from Abraham, and blessed him who had the promises. Now, it is beyond all doubt that the inferior one is blessed by the superior One" (vs 5-7). In other words, the superior blesses the inferior!

Verse 8: "And in the first case, men who die receive tithes; but in the other case, He received tithes of Whom it is witnessed that He lives forever. And in one sense, Levi, who receives tithes, also gave tithes through Abraham; for he was still in his forefather's loins when Melchisedec met him. Therefore, if perfection was indeed possible through the Levitical priesthood—for the Law that the people had received was based on it—what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchisedec, and not to be named after the order of Aaron?" (vs 8-11).

Let's understand that the whole Levitical system was based upon the order of Aaron. He was the firstborn. All the Levites were used to redeem the firstborn of Israel and then the residual that was left over to take care of that.

Now let's see another thing that's very important concerning the Levitical priesthood and something quite unusual. This is very important for us to understand concerning the Levitical priesthood. The priests were to receive all of the firstlings.

Numbers 18:8: "And the LORD spoke to Aaron, 'Behold, I have also given you the charge of My heave offerings of all the Holy things of the children of Israel. I have given them to you by reason of the anointing…'"

Aaron was anointed and ordained into the priesthood. It was by calling, by choice of God, and it was not done with an oath. That we're going to see will be very important concerning Christ, concerning the order of Melchizedek to show the greatness of the priesthood of Melchizedek. Then it was by inheritance.

"…and to your sons, by an ordinance forever. This shall be yours of the most Holy things, reserved from the fire, every sacrifice" (vs 8-9)—every sin of Aaron.

Verse 11: "And this is yours, the heave offering of their gift, with all the wave offerings of the children of Israel. I have given them to you and to your sons and to your daughters with you by a statute forever. Everyone that is clean in your house shall eat it."

So now were blending into the firstfruits which then commemorates the Feast of Pentecost and the meaning of that and the firstfruits of the land.

Verse 12: "All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them which they shall offer to the LORD, I have given them to you. The first ripe fruits of all that is in the land, which they shall bring to the LORD, shall be yours. Everyone that is clean in your house shall eat of it…. [blending into the firstfruits, Feast of Pentecost] …Everything devoted in Israel shall be yours. Everything that opens the womb of all flesh, which they bring to the LORD, of men or animals, shall be yours…." (vs 12-15)

So, it was the priest. The high priesthood of Aaron was to receive the dedication of all the males of the firstborn. Now we'll see something else.

"…Nevertheless, the firstborn of man you shall surely redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem. And those that are to be redeemed from a month old you shall redeem, according to your judgment for the silver of five shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs. But the firstborn of a cow, or the firstborn of a sheep, or the firstborn of a goat, you shall not redeem. They are Holy…. (vs 15-17).

Whenever there was a firstling of the sheep or the goats that was born of a male was dedicated to the priesthood. Therefore, from the time of the first Passover in Egypt no firstborn male was ever used again for a Passover offering. I think we'll see that that's very important when it relates to Christ. We're going to see something else here as we go along.

"'…You shall sprinkle their blood against the side of the altar and shall burn their fat, an offering made by fire for a sweet savor to the LORD. And their flesh shall be yours, as the wave breast and as the right shoulder are yours. All the heave offerings of the Holy things, which the children of Israel offer to the LORD, I have given you and your sons and your daughters with you by a statute forever. It is a covenant of salt forever before the LORD to you and to your seed with you.' And the LORD said to Aaron, 'You shall have no inheritance in their land'" (vs 17-20).

Now were going to see that is very important. There are two reasons why. First reason is given here, and the second reason we'll understand in just a bit.

"…You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have any part among them…." (v 20).

In other words they were not given a geographical area like we would call today, a state for the tribe of Levi. No! They were scattered in all of Israel and there were Levitical cities and they could own a house with some land, but they did not have a state that was designated as theirs. So, they had no inheritance. Now we'll see that's important.

"…I am your part and your inheritance among the children of Israel. And behold, I have given the sons of Levi all the tithe in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, the service of the tabernacle of the congregation" (vs 20-21).

That was their first compensation for lack of inheritance they would receive all the tenth. But also, we need to understand  that the priesthood of Aaron in the Levitical system were temporary (Heb. 7). And the very fact that they did not have an inheritance was showing that their Levitical service was temporary until a certain point, and that's all explained in the book of Hebrews. There are very important reasons why they didn't have that.

Remember that there were exactly 22,000 Levites, which then became firstborn unto God instead of all the firstborn of the children of Israel. Number 22 is an interesting number. Because the way that things work out, it's very important for us to understand that numbers to fit in things in a very special way.

  • #22 indicates and shows the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet
  • #22 is 7+7+7+1.

It's also interesting that when you have the plus one you go from 7 to 8; as you're counting you go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and then 1, which then is 8. So, you have a very important pattern, which fits in, and that relates to Jesus Christ.

Now let's look at another pattern concerning #7 and #1 as it relates to Pentecost. You have 7 weeks and each week has 7 days so you have 7+7 all the way up to 49+1 making 50, the Day of Pentecost.

Now also we have something that's very important concerning the New Testament and how that is put together. First of all in the Greek language there are 24 letters in the alphabet, and 24 is 8+8+8. The name of Jesus Christ, one of His names, is the Word. So then 8+8+8=24 the number of letters of the Greek alphabet and Christ is called the Word. So, that fits in with that.

When you add the number of books in the Old Testament with the number of books in the New Testament you come up with something also very important. First of all there were to be 22 books in the Old Testament. They've made a few more books out of it by separating out Kings and Chronicles and certain of the of the other books; there were to be 22. In the New Testament there are 27 books. You add those together and you have 49. So, you also have a pattern of 49 just like with Pentecost. You have 49+1=50. We also have the 22+27=49. But where does #50 come in?

We have also concerning that the First and the Last; Jesus is called the First and the Last. Jesus talks about being the First and the Last. And what is the first? One! What is the last? Eight!

Revelation 1:8, Jesus said: "'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the Ending,' says the Lord, 'Who is, and Who was, and Who is to come—the Almighty.'"

Verse 11:  saying, 'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, and what you see, write in a book, and send it to the churches that are in Asia: to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.'"

Verse 18: "Even the One Who is living; for I was dead, and behold, I am alive into the ages of eternity. Amen. And I have the keys of the grave and of death."

So, Christ now is alive evermore, the First and the Last, one and eight. That also ties in with Pentecost.

But how does it tie in with the books of the Bible. What book do you suppose is the 50th book? Now it's mentioned in the Bible but it's not contained in the Bible. I'll come back and answer that a little bit later.

(go to the next track)

I'll leave you hanging on which is the most important book in the Bible, but is not contained in the Bible. It is somewhere else!

Let's look at Christ who was the Firstborn. Let's see about Jesus Christ. We're going to see that He was firstborn of Mary, and He was the Only Begotten of God the Father. God the Father never, never had any others like Christ; that's why He is called the Only Begotten in relationship to the Father.

Matthew 1:25: "But he [Joseph] did not have sexual relations with her until after she had given birth to her Son, the firstborn…"

Remember that the firstborn is always calculated from the mother. Just like with us, in relationship to Sarah and Isaac, Jerusalem above is the mother of us all and we are children of promise like Isaac was. So here is her firstborn:

"…and he [Joseph] called His name Jesus" (v 25).

Hebrews 1:6: "And again, when He [God the Father] brought the Firstborn into the world..."—the Greek there is 'prototokos' which means firstborn not begotten. First begotten is 'protokoni.'

"…He said, 'Let all the angels of God worship Him'" (v 6). That was when He was born in the flesh.

Now let's see something else concerning Christ, concerning the firstborn, concerning the fact that Jesus was born from the dead. 1-Cor. 15 ties in with the Feast of Pentecost, and ties in with Christ being the Firstborn of the firstborn. Just like Aaron in type who was firstborn, and all the Levites were counted as firstborn.

Aaron was literally the firstborn. All the Levites were counted as the firstborn. Now we find here literally that Jesus Christ was the firstborn of Mary, and He was calculated as the Firstborn and He's the Firstfruit of those that sleep from the dead.

1-Corinthians 15:20: "But now Christ has been raised from the dead… [firstborn] …He has become the Firstfruit of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the Firstfruit; then those who are Christ's at His coming" (vs 20-23).

Notice that the firstfruits and the firstborn are tied in together with His coming. He is the Firstborn—'prototokos'—from among the dead for a very special and particular purpose and reason.

Colossians 1:15: "Who is the image of the invisible God… [stamped with a very character, exactly, of God the Father] …the Firstborn of all creation"—of all of those created as the sons of God through the power of the resurrection. This doesn't mean the Christ was the very first thing that God the Father created.

Verse 16: "Because by Him were all things created, the things in heaven and the things on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether they be thrones, or lordships, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him and for Him. And He is before all, and by Him all things subsist. And He is the Head of the Body, the Church… [may we always understand that] …Who is the Beginning, the Firstborn from among the dead…" (vs 16-18)—showing the others were going to come.

  • He is the firstborn in the flesh of Mary
  • He is the firstborn from among the dead in the resurrection

"…so that in all things He Himself might hold the preeminence" (v 18).

Now let's look at something else here concerning Jesus Christ and firstborn. We will see that He is to be the firstborn among many brethren.

Romans 8:29: "Because those whom He did foreknow He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His own Son, that He might be the Firstborn among many brethren."

Let's understand concerning Christ and His sacrifice being our Passover, as we find found during the Days of Unleavened Bread:

1-Corinthians 5:7: "For Christ our Passover was sacrificed for us. For this reason, let us keep the Feast…" (vs 7-8).

So, the Passover being on the 14th and the Feast being on the 15th, therefore, you cannot have the protection of being of the firstborn and spared of God if you have a 15th Passover. You cannot do it! The 14th Passover is very special for the Church of the Firstborn for those who are going to be resurrected when Christ returns, for those who are going to be in the first resurrection at Pentecost.

Now let's see how all of this ties in with the beginning of the counting of Pentecost. I want you to write down these numbers: 10-17. We have a total of eight when you have inclusive counting.

  • Nissan 10

Jesus was selected as the Passover sacrifice by God the Father Himself as it came with the voice of an angel as recorded in John 12, on Nissan 10, which was a Sabbath Day in the year that Jesus was crucified.

John 12:23: "But Jesus answered them, saying, 'The time has come… [specific time] for the Son of man to be glorified. Truly, truly I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. The one who loves his life shall lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world shall keep it unto eternal life'" (vs 23-25).

Then we'll see the connection that we have here with this.

Verse 26: "'If anyone will serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there shall My servant be also. And if anyone serves Me, him shall the Father honor. Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour? But for this very purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify Your name.' Then a voice came from heaven, saying, 'I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.' Then the people standing there, who heard it, said, 'It thundered.' Others said, 'An angel spoke to Him.' Jesus answered and said, 'This voice did not come because of Me, but because of you'" (vs 26-30).

That was the 10th of Nissan when He was selected to be the Passover lamb.

Verse 31: "Now is the judgment of this world. Now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all to Myself" (vs 31-32).

Jesus was selected on that day, the 10th of Nissan.

  • 11th
  • 12th
  • 13th—Tuesday

The 10th being a Sabbath. Then Sunday Monday Tuesday, 4th day is Tuesday.

  • 14th—Wednesday—Passover Day

Five is the number of grace. Let understand that Jesus died by the grace of God for all men. Therefore, it had to be in the middle of the week. That's the fifth day from counting of the time when He was selected as the Passover Lamb!

Hebrews 2:9: "But we see Jesus, Who was made a little lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor on account of suffering the death, in order that by the grace of God He Himself might taste death for everyone."

That's why He was killed in the middle of the week. That's why He was killed on the 14th, because that is the 5th day from the His being selected on the 10th.

Now then let's count forward a little bit more:

  • 15th—day 6, the number of man

Six was when Jesus was in the tomb, dead and buried

  • 16th
  • 17th—Sabbath

Jesus was three days and three nights in the tomb. Which brings us to the end of day-17 of the month; #17 is the number of overcoming. Let's see what Jesus said about overcoming:

Revelation 1:18[transcriber's correction]: "Even the One Who is living; for I was dead, and behold, I am alive into the ages of eternity…."

When He was resurrected right as the Sabbath Day ended completing three days and three nights in the tomb that was on the 17th day of the month. But also that was the 8th day from when He was selected as the Passover Lamb. You have one and you have eight, which then is a resurrection, a new beginning.

Now we have here in Revelation 3:21: "To the one who overcomes will I give authority to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and sat down with My Father in His throne."

When Jesus was resurrected right at the end of the Sabbath Day we have this: To be exactly three days and three nights in the tomb it had to be right when the sun set and as it was setting before it was completely set that Jesus rose from the dead.

Therefore, that being #8, it is also #1. When we are counting that the day after that is #1? Yes! That's why the Wave Sheaf Offering has got to be the first day in counting toward Pentecost. Because that was the first day in which Jesus then had been raised from the dead. Then He ascended to the Father on the day portion of the first day of the week to be accepted by God the Father as the fulfillment of the Wave Sheaf Offering to be accepted for us. That has to be day one.

Now then, let's talk about the Churches. Because this will get into even more as were going along here. Let's talk about the churches. Because we have a phenomena here which is very important. We have seven weeks to the harvest plus one day—Pentecost. We also have seven churches in Rev. 2 and 3. This is the harvest of the work of the Church; Christ being the Head of the Church.

As there are seven weeks to the harvest, there are seven Churches listed here. Now then, there is one other church, which is going to come separately and different than the seven churches in Asia. That is the Church of the Tribulation, the 144,000 and the great innumerable multitude, which is the 50th-Day Church. That is the final harvest of God. That's why the 144,000 and the great innumerable multitude are called and sealed on the Day of Pentecost, the next to the last Pentecost before the resurrection at the Pentecost after that.

Let's understand something just a little bit more concerning the seven churches. Because we have another phenomena that takes place here also. We have:

  • seven churches in Asia
  • seven churches down through history

which then is 14

  • seven churches at the end

which is 21

  • the church on the next to the last Pentecost

which is 22

This goes right back to 22,000 of the Levites; so, we have the 22 and 22.

Now let's see something else in Heb. 12 that's very important for us to understand, where it talks about the Church. The Church also was designated in a special way. Not only as we have seen that we are the firstfruits of His creation as James wrote about (James 1) but here in Heb. 12 we have something greater.

This is important for us to realize, and we will find out which then is the 50th book that becomes the most important book. Forty-nine books in the Bible, but just like 49 is not complete until you come to the 50th, so there is another book very important.

Hebrews 12:18: "For you have not come to the mount that could be touched…"—that is Mount Sinai. Remember, as we will see tomorrow, the Ten Commandments were given on the Day of Pentecost. So, this becomes very important and profound.

"…and that burned with fire, nor to gloominess, and fearful darkness, and the whirlwind; and to the sound of the trumpet, and to the voice of the words, which those who heard, begged that the word not be spoken directly to them. (For they could not endure what was being commanded…" (vs 18-20).

Showing also that the covenant with Israel the Old Covenant was temporary. They couldn't endure it. Today we do. God calls us to His spiritual mount! Then it talks about even if a beast would touch it he would have to be killed; '…'And if even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned, or shot through with an arrow'" (v 20).

Verse 21: "And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, 'I am greatly afraid and trembling'). But you have come to Mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem; and to an innumerable company of angels; to the joyous festival gathering; and to the Church of the Firstborn, registered in the Book of Life in heaven…" (vs 21-23).

We are called the Church of the Firstborn. What does that mean? We are going to see that that means the same thing as it was related to the children of Israel being the firstborn, and then the Levites being that priesthood in compensation for the firstborn. We also find the same thing for us today. Speaking of the Church, which is coming to heavenly Mount Sion, the Church of the Firstborn. Just like the Levites where instead of firstborn it said of us:

1-Peter 2:9: "But you are a chosen stock, a royal priesthood, a Holy nation, a people for a possession of God, that you might proclaim His excellent virtues, Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people…" (vs 9-10).

No we weren't firstborn, we weren't even a people of God. This includes all of the firstborn that were redeemed as we saw of all of the animals being clean or unclean.

"…but now are the people of God; who had not received mercy, but now have received mercy. Beloved, I exhort you, as strangers and sojourners, to restrain yourselves from fleshly lusts which war against the soul" (vs 10-11).

We today are strangers and pilgrims. Just like the Levites we do not have an inheritance, but we shall have an inheritance. And that's what becomes very important and profound why the Levites did not have an inheritance.

Let's see the example of Abraham who was the firstborn. He was looking for the country or the inheritance provided by God. That's why Abraham wandered in the land and never inherited it.

Hebrews 11:14: "For those who say such things make it manifest that they seek their own country, as promised by God." That is all of the faithful who didn't inherited it.

Verse 15: "And if, on the one hand, they had let their minds dwell fondly on the place where they came from, they might have had opportunity to return. But now, on the other hand, they are aspiring to a more excellent country—that is, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God because He has prepared a city for them" (vs 15-16). That is the inheritance.

Now brethren let's understand something here. The firstborn receive the inheritance. The First of the firstborn receives the inheritance, Jesus received the inheritance. Let's see this concerning Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 1:1: "God Who spoke to the fathers at different times in the past and in many ways by the prophets, has spoken to us in these last days by His Son, Whom He has appointed heir of all things…" (vs 1-2).

Christ has inherited it! He, as the High Priest, received the inheritance. Aaron the high priest—the type, the physical before the spiritual—received no inheritance. There is why the priesthood of Aaron was temporary. Furthermore, more Melchizedek was chosen by an oath. Aaron was called and appointed. But God's swore saying to Jesus Christ, 'You are a Priest after the order of Melchizedek forever.' That's why His Priesthood is greater. That's why He is the First of the firstborn. Christ has the preeminence always in everything:

  • being firstborn of Mary
  • being firstborn from among the dead
  • being firstborn among many brethren
  • being the Church

and we are the Church of the Firstborn! So, He is received it in an inheritance.

"…by Whom also He made the ages… [He already has it] … Who, being the brightness of His glory and the exact image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His own power, when He had by Himself purged our sins…" (vs 2-3)—as the Passover Lamb passed over us and gave us the status of the Firstborn.

"…sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high; having been made so much greater than any of the angels, inasmuch as He has inherited a name exceedingly superior to them" (vs 3-4). So, you see what it means to be of the Church of the Firstborn.

Hebrews 12:22: "But you have come to Mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem… [which is our inheritance] …and to an innumerable company of angels; to the joyous festival gathering; and to the Church of the Firstborn, registered in the Book of Life in heaven" (vs 22-23)

Now what is the 50th book that is mentioned in the Bible but is not contained in the Bible but is in heaven? The Book of Life! So, we have 49 books to the whole Bible and when the 50th book is open there will be the resurrection and our names in that 50th book for the Church of the Firstborn and we will be raised on Pentecost as the firstborn!

That's tremendous for us to understand! We need to realize that. Rom. 8 tells us concerning how important this is that Christ, being the Heir, already inherited. Remember that Aaron had no inheritance. And those of us in this life right now have no inheritance, yet. It is coming; we are looking for it. And we are the general assembly of the Church of the Firstborn. Our names are registered in heaven above in the Book of Life.

This is very important because when we come to the Day of Pentecost, what was given? The Holy Spirit was given and given in power, so that we might be the very sons of God! This is what it is to do to us and for us, and how we are to use the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:14: "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God"—the general assembly of the Church of the Firstborn!

What is our job going to be? We're a Holy nation are a royal priesthood to be kings and priests to rule with Christ! Christ is the Firstborn of the firstborn, and we are the firstborn, the firstfruits God. We are the sons of God!

Verse 15: "Now, you have not received a spirit of bondage again unto fear…" That's why we should not go back and do those physical things. We should not go back ever. We are sanctified:

  • by a 14th Passover
  • by the New Covenant
  • by foot-washing
  • by the taking of the bread and the wine, which is the body and the blood of Christ

Christ was killed on the afternoon of the 14th to fulfill the covenant promise of Abraham (Gen. 15).

We are the Church of the Firstborn. That's why we should not go back and keep the 15th Passover. I'll tell you something, if you keep the 15th Passover you do not have the protection of the firstborn and you answer not to 'firstborn.' If you don't have the protection of that 14th Passover you are not firstborn!

You need to think on that, because everything coming from the time that Christ was selected until the giving of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost is one continuous thing, not a single day missing. This also ties in with those who keep a Monday Pentecost:

  • you miss a day
  • you miss the most important day
  • you don't count the day that Christ ascended to the Father as the One Who was resurrected from the dead

the Firstborn of the firstborn!

Anyone who keeps a Monday Pentecost then is saying the resurrection of Jesus Christ does not amount to anything and should not be counted toward Pentecost. They don't say it exactly that way, but that's literally what it is. That's why the 14th Passover is so important. And beginning the count of Pentecost on that first day of the week—'the morrow after the Sabbath—is so important, because Jesus was resurrected right as the Sabbath ended and that first full day being resurrected from the dead must be counted toward Pentecost so that the rest of the resurrection of the Church of the Firstborn will take place on Pentecost, not the day after the 50th day.

That's why the spirit of bondage, the physical things. Let me tell you something else that's very important concerning physical things. On the 14th the shedding of the blood pointed toward Christ, Who would give His life; both in Gen. 15 with the covenant sacrifices and in Exo. 12 referring to the Passover Lamb; both pointing toward a Man—Christ—Who would give His life.

When He gave His life He was the only Firstborn to be a Passover sacrifice, because none of the firstborn from that time of the first Passover were ever used for a Passover sacrifice. Then it comes down to Christ who was the First of the firstborn, and He was sacrificed on the 14th. Therefore, that's very important for you to understand and realized; that if you keep a 15th Passover and if you eat a meal with that.

Now you can't keep the Passover in the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread together because are two different things. If you combine them you are leaving out the Passover, you're leaving out your protection. Furthermore, you're going one step further, because if you have a Seder meal with a shank bone you're relying upon the blood of an animal. The animal's blood had to be shed for you to get shank bone. The blood of bulls, goats, heifers and lambs could never take away sin. They were only shadows of what was to come.

Now the fulfillment of Christ is here, and if anyone keeps a 15th Passover, a Monday Pentecost or 6th of Sivan Pentecost—unless it falls naturally on the 6th of Sivan—you are taking yourself:

  • away from Christ
  • away from the firstborn
  • away from your eternal reward

because you are going back to the physical carnal things in spirit of bondage!
Romans 8:15: "Now, you have not received a spirit of bondage again unto fear, but you have received the Spirit of sonship, whereby we call out, 'Abba, Father.' The Spirit itself bears witness conjointly with our own spirit, testifying that we are the children of God…. [the Church of the Firstborn] …Now, if we are children, we are also heirs… [just like Christ] …truly, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ" (vs 15-17).

We will be a permanent everlasting priesthood forever and ever! Just like Jesus Christ after the order of Melchizedek is the High Priest forever and ever and ever the Firstborn of the firstborn. Then we as the firstborn of the general assembly of the Church of the Firstborn will serve with Him, and we will receive our inheritance. The Levites didn't.

Now let's look at something else that's very important for us to realize concerning this whole relationship. We are also called to be the wife or the Bride of Christ. Let's see how we are to dedicate ourselves in what manner this ought to be, and then will we will project forward to tomorrow for the Feast of Pentecost and all that that means. Brethren, these two days together are very important for us to understand what God has for us. It's a marvelous, marvelous thing indeed that God has

  • given us His Word
  • given us His understanding

so that we can understand some of the deep things of God!

But being in the general assembly of the Church of the Firstborn, you have got to really understand about the 14th Passover and the proper Pentecost because they all fit together in one full complete package.

Now then it says concerning husbands and wives; Ephesians 5:22: "Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands, as to the Lord."

Let's see if we can end a lot of husband and wife problems and see if the wives do what they need to do, and the husband see that they do what they need to do. Because after all, does that not picture us in Christ? Yes it does!

Verse 23: "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the Head of the Church; and He is the Savior of the Body."

Christ is the only One Who is going to save us. Christ is the only One Who is going to make it possible for us to be in that covenant relationship with Him. Remember, Christ is the Firstborn of the firstborn and we will be His wife, who will then be the firstborn; being, in that sense, a wife to Christ. Here we have male and female brought together just like it's described here with husband and wife.

Verse 24: "For even as the Church is subject to Christ, in the same way also let wives be subject to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your own wives, in the same way that Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himself for it… [gave His whole being] …so that He might sanctify it, having cleansed it with the washing of the water by the Word" (vs 24-26). This is what God's Word is to do:

  • wash us
  • cleanse us
  • purify us
  • up lift us
  • make us ready to be the Bride of Christ

Verse 27: "That He might present it to Himself as the glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle…" Of any keeping of the days of God incorrectly on the wrong day or in the wrong manner, or sin in our lives.

"…or any such thing; but that it might be Holy and without blame" (v 27). Just like Christ was Holy and without blemish! As the Firstborn of the firstborn was Holy without blemish so shall the firstborn the general assembly of the Firstborn Church be Holy and without blemish and blameless before God.

Verse 28: "In the same way, husbands are duty-bound to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself; for no man has ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord does the Church" (vs 28-29).

That's what it needs to be. When the Sabbath comes it needs to be:

  • nourished
  • cherished
  • fed
  • uplifted
  • inspired

Haven't we in the Church of God made such an absolute mess and disaster of the Sabbath and Holy Days with self-righteousness, stupidity, laziness and carnality? Brethren, we ought to go to God and let Him cleanse us from all of this, raise us up out of all of this carnal self-centered nonsense.

Verse 30: "For we are members of His body—of His flesh and of His bones."

This means that just as Eve was created from one of the ribs of Adam so we go to the First and the Last.

  • the first Adam was of the earth earthy
  • the second Adam was made a quickening spirit
  • the first wife was made of his rib, fleshly
  • the second wife is made from the innermost part of His being through His flesh and bones being the crucifixion

Do we understand that? That is marvelous and deep to understand this.

Verse 31: "For this reason shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife; and the two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery; but I am speaking in respect to Christ and the Church" (vs 31-32). The Church is to be one spirit with Jesus Christ.

Remember, we are the general assembly of the Church of the Firstborn. Christ the High Priest the Firstborn literally, physically, and then Firstborn from among the dead spiritually. He is of the order of Melchizedek forever and ever and ever. We are going to be married to Him as the Bride of Christ.

That's going to be a tremendous and wonderful ceremony that's going to take place and I'm sure that God the Father is going to perform the ceremony for that marvelous and tremendous event.

Revelation 19:1: "And after these things I heard the loud voice of a great multitude in heaven…"—and that's where we will be on the Sea of Glass.

"…saying, 'Hallelujah! The salvation and the glory and the honor and the power belong to the Lord our God. For true and righteous are His judgments; for He has judged the great whore, who corrupted the earth with her fornication, and He has avenged the blood of His servants at her hand.' And they said a second time, 'Hallelujah! And her smoke shall ascend upward into the ages of eternity.' And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God, Who sits on the throne, saying, 'Amen. Hallelujah!' And a voice came forth from the throne, saying, 'Praise our God, all His servants…'" (vs 1-5). There we are, we'll be there.

"'…and all who fear Him, both small and great.' And I heard a voice like that of a great multitude, and like the sound of many waters, and the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, 'Hallelujah! For the Lord God Almighty has reigned. Let us be glad and shout with joy; and let us give glory to Him; for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready'" (vs 5-7). That's what we need to be doing brethren making ourselves ready.

Verse 8: "And it was granted to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, pure and bright; for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints."

Brethren, we're going to be as the general assembly of the Firstborn, the wife of Christ the Firstborn, marrying the First of the firstborn!

All Scriptures from The Holy Bible in Its Original Order, A Faithful Version

Scriptural References:

  • 1-Corinthians 15:46-47
  • Genesis 11:27
  • Genesis 15:4-6
  • Genesis 21:1-4
  • Genesis 25:19-23
  • Exodus 4:21-22
  • Exodus 19:5-6
  • Exodus 6:20
  • Exodus 7:6-7
  • Exodus 12:11-13, 21-28
  • Numbers 3:11-13
  • Exodus 13:1-2, 12-15
  • Numbers 3:40-50
  • Hebrews 7:5-11
  • Numbers 18:8-9-21
  • Revelation 1:8, 11, 18
  • Matthew 1:25
  • Hebrews 1:6
  • 1-Corinthians 15:20-23
  • Colossians 1:15-18
  • Romans 8:29
  • 1-Corinthians 5:7-8
  • John 12:23-32
  • Hebrews 2:9
  • Revelation 1:18
  • Revelation 3:21
  • Hebrews 12:18-23
  • 1-Peter 2:9-11
  • Hebrews 11:14-16
  • Hebrews 1:1-4
  • Hebrews 12:22-23
  • Romans 8:14-17
  • Ephesians 5:22-32
  • Revelation 19:1-8

Scripture referenced, not quoted:

  • Revelation 2
  • James 1

FRC: po/bo
Transcribed: 2/24/17

Copyright 1997—All rights reserved. Except for brief excerpts for review purposes, no part of this publication may be reproduced or used in any form or by any means without the written permission of the copyright owner. This includes electronic and mechanical photocopying or recording, as well as the use of information storage and retrieval systems.