Read to Read …Again
Daily Reading: Numbers 3-4
Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of the cattle; and the Levites shall be mine: I am the Lord.
What is the big deal about the “Firstborn”?
The background: In Exodus 13:2 God stated: Sanctify unto me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is mine.
The Redemption: In Exodus 13:13 God commanded: And every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man among thy children shalt thou redeem. Meaning give that firstborn to God.
The Levites: In Numbers 3 a change is made. Instead of every firstborn of all the families in Israel, now only the tribe of Levi would belong to God for special service.
The Numbers: At this time, the time that the tabernacle was being constructed, there were 22,000 Levite males from a month old and upward. At the same time there were 22,273 first born males in all Israel the same age. Meaning there were 273 more first born males than Levite males. Those firstborn males were supposed to be given to the Lord for special service. In God’s adjusted plan these needed to be redeemed, released, from that special place of service. In other words, they would not serve, or belong to the Lord, but rather to and for themselves and their families. So, God placed a value of five shekels to be paid to the Levites, as they would be doing the work that these firstborns were to do. (Later in Numbers 18:16 this five-shekel amount was established for the redemption of all firstborn.)
Now…The Meaning of this for today! GET THIS….DO NOT MISS THIS
Hebrews 12:23 proclaims:
To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
If you are a child of God, born into the family of God, you are in the church of the firstborn (this is not to be confused with the local, visible, Bible believing church you attend on earth.) Your name is written in Heaven – in the Lamb’s Book of Life – you are “just” meaning you’ve been justified, and you are made perfect (as perfect as Jesus Christ is perfect). Being part of the firstborn group you have been redeemed. Not by five shekels, or any amount of money, or any amount of work or service. You are redeemed just like the picture of the 273 were redeemed in Israel. They were to serve, but they were made free from that service through the price of redemption. The Levites took their place, but they couldn’t take the place of all. They were limited, but Christ’s Gospel is unlimited. When Jesus died, He paid it all! You have been placed in the church of the firstborn (the congregation of all the firstborn throughout history).
I hope and pray this came through clear…. crystal clear. God indeed calls some into special service as He did the Levities, but He redeems all by the redemption price of the blood of Jesus Christ. That is, all that come to him through faith in His Son’s Gospel.
That is the Big Deal about the firstborn!
William T. Howe Ph.D.