In the Bible as well as in the ancient world, the firstborn was given certain special rights, priority, prominence, privileges, and responsibilities.
Importance of firstborn
The firstborn male child represented the prime of human strength and vitality. (Genesis 49:3; Psalms 78:51) The firstborn is termed the ‘opener of the womb.’ (Exodus 13:2,12,15; Numbers 18:15; Luke 2:23) As the primary heir of the family, the firstborn received a double portion of assets and leadership of the family. (Deuteronomy 21:17)
Sacred for the Lord
The firstborn was considered sacred to God. (Genesis 4:4; Exodus 3:1-2; Leviticus 27:26; Numbers 3:11-13; Deuteronomy 15:19-23) After God delivered Israel by punishing Egypt that all their firstborn children and animals were dead; He commanded Israel to consecrate every firstborn male human and firstborn animal to Him. (Exodus 22:29-30)
Levites chosen among Israel
In the wilderness, the tribe of Levi was chosen for service in the Tabernacle, instead of the firstborn males of all tribes of Israel. But the number of male Levites were less than that of all firstborns. The excess firstborn male was redeemed by offering sacrifices. All firstborn of clean animals were sacrificed, while all unclean animals were redeemed by replacement by clean animals or money. (Exodus 34:20; Numbers 18:14-16; 3:46-48)
Israel is firstborn among all nations
The Nation of Israel was termed by God as His ‘firstborn’. (Exodus 4:22; Jeremiah 31:9) Israel held a special place of privilege and blessing among the nations. The Nation was not chosen because it was great in number, indeed small. (Deuteronomy 7:7) God called Abraham, he obeyed His call, and His descendants became the Nation of Israel.
Christ as the firstborn
Lord Jesus Christ is described as firstborn several times. First, as the firstborn of Mary. (Luke 2:7) Second, firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (Romans 8:29) Third, Firstborn among all creation indicating his priority and preeminence. (Colossians 1:15) Four, as firstborn, is the head of the family, and Lord Jesus is the Head of the church. All believers are members of the Church of Firstborn (Hebrews 12:23)
Do I realize my privileges and responsibilities of being born-again?