The Gospel Observer
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations...teaching them to
observe all that I commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, even to
the end of the age" (Matt. 28:19,20).
March 4, 1990
1) Jesus -- "The First-Born" (Part One) (Tom Edwards)
2) Sentence Sermons
Jesus -- "The First-Born" (Part One)
by Tom Edwards
The Bible uses various phrases which helpfully convey a more thorough
understanding of the nature of Jesus. For example, Isaiah 9:6 refers to
the name of the Lord as "Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal
Father, Prince of Peace." How can we not be mindful of the Lord's
supreme character after reading this passage?
Another such term is seen in Colossians 1:15 where Paul gloriously
declares Jesus to be "...the image of the invisible God, the FIRSTBORN
of all creation" (emphasis mine). Just what did Paul mean by
proclaiming Jesus the "firstborn"? Is he indicating that the Lord had a
Let us first note that to take the term literally would mean that Jesus
was born and could not be used, as some have tried, to teach that He
was created. Was Jesus, however, born somewhere back in time before the
creation of the universe? If so, who gave birth to Him? And if He
was not, then we must agree that the term "firstborn" is used
The Bible testifies to Christ's eternal nature: He was the "Word" who
was "in the beginning with God" (John 1:1-3) and through whom all
created things came into being. Colossians 1:16 states, "For by Him all
things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible
and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or
powers. All things were created through Him and for Him." With
this verse in mind, how then could one view Jesus as being a created
being since He was the One who had made all created things? If He were
created, then He would have had to have been the One responsible for
creating Himself also.
Let us next briefly consider the figurative usage of the term
"first-born" as seen in Isaiah 14:30. It reads, "And the first-born of
the poor shall feed, and the needy shall lie down in safety...." Are we
to assume that the "firstborn of the poor" has reference to those who
were only the first ones born into poor families? Seeing this passage
in different Bible versions helps us to better understand the meaning
of this phrase. The New American Standard renders it in the following
manner. "And those who are MOST HELPLESS will eat, and the needy
will lie down in security...." (emphasis mine). And notice the
translation in the New International Version, "The POOREST OF THE POOR
will find pasture, and the needy will lie down in safety...." (emphasis
mine). It is obvious from this verse that the "firstborn of the
poor" does not have reference to the time of their birth, but rather to
the EXTREME poverty in which they were living; it indicates poverty at
In Isaiah 14:30, "firstborn" is used in connection with poorness; but
that is only one way -- and a rare way -- in which the Bible applies
it. May this lesson serve as an introductory study to help us see that
the term "firstborn" can be used to express figuratively an EXTREME
POSITION above all others. Next week we will consider some other
passages that use this word and see of the very special positions they
When you have nothing left but God, you begin to learn that God is
Pick your friends, but not to pieces.
It's been observed that many people use mighty thin thread when mending
The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation
1) Hear the gospel,
for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30,31).
2) Believe in the
deity of Christ (John 8:24; John 3:18).
3) Repent of sins
(Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).
4) Confess faith in Christ
(Rom. 10:9,10; Acts 8:36-38).
5) Be baptized in water
for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4;
Gal. 3:26,27; 1 Pet. 3:21).
6) Continue in the faith;
salvation can be lost (Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet.
First published for the Tri-state church of Christ in Ashland,
Kentucky, at 713 13th Street.
evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards