Who is God’s first born?

Answered by Jarrod Smith

According to the biblical account in Exodus, God refers to Israel as His firstborn son. This concept is introduced during the conversation between Moses and God, as Moses is tasked with delivering the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt. In Exodus 4:22-23, God says to Moses, “Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the Lord: Israel is my firstborn son, and I say to you, “Let my son go that he may serve me.”‘”

This statement by God carries significant symbolic and theological meaning. In ancient Near Eastern culture, the firstborn son held a position of honor and privilege within the family. He would inherit the father’s authority, responsibilities, and blessings. By calling Israel His firstborn, God is emphasizing the special relationship and chosen status of the Israelite nation.

The designation of Israel as God’s firstborn son is not meant to imply a literal birth. Rather, it highlights the unique and intimate relationship between God and Israel. It signifies that Israel has a special purpose and role in God’s plan for humanity.

Throughout the Old Testament, the idea of Israel as God’s firstborn is further developed and expanded upon. In the book of Hosea, for example, God declares His love for Israel, saying, “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son” (Hosea 11:1). This verse not only references the Exodus narrative but also highlights the parental love and care that God has for His chosen people.

The New Testament also draws on this imagery to describe the relationship between Jesus and the people of God. In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul writes, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers” (Romans 8:29). Here, Jesus is referred to as the firstborn among many brothers, connecting the concept of firstbornness to the believers in Christ.

God’s designation of Israel as His firstborn son signifies their special relationship and chosen status within His plan. It emphasizes the unique role that Israel plays in God’s redemptive purposes and highlights His love and care for His people. This concept is further developed in both the Old and New Testaments, connecting the idea of firstbornness to Jesus and the believers in Him.