Deborah's Bible Studies

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The Creation Concept

Who Makes His Angels Winds

The Pioneer of Our Salvation

The Shadow and the Substance

The Lord is my Shepherd

Manifested in the Flesh

A Spiritual Body

Paul's Journey to Jerusalem

Paul's Answer to Circumcision

A Royal Priesthood

The Inheritance of the Saints

The Essential New Covenant

The Glory that Excels

Spiritual Israel

Abraham, the Father of the Faithful

The Woman Clothed with the Sun

The Revelation of the Mystery


A Study of First-born and First fruits

Let us consider five passages of scripture from the New Testament which depict Christ and the saints as "first-born" and "first fruits".

Colossians 1:15-18:

He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities -- all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent.

Here, in only three verses of scripture, Christ is depicted as "first" six times. He is called the "first-born of all creation" for He is the Creator of all things. He is called the "beginning" for we read in John 1:1: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." He is described as the "first-born from the dead" for when he died on the cross and rose again the third day, he did indeed "taste death for every one" (Heb. 2:9).

I Corinthians 15:20-26:

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also 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 first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

In this passage of scripture, Christ is depicted as the "first fruits of those who have fallen asleep". So, Christ is seen here as the Saviour of all humanity; for as "in Adam" all die, so in the fullness of time, all will be resurrected from the grave and made alive "in Christ".

We are also told the order in which all will be "made alive". Those who "belong to Christ" will enjoy the privilege of being the first to be made alive "at His coming". This would include those saints who have died in Christ, and who will be resurrected from the grave and made alive in Christ. This would also include those saints who are still alive when Christ returns, and who will be changed and thus made alive in Christ.

Romans 8:28-30:

We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the first-born among many brethren. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified.

Here, we see Christ pictured as the "first-born among many brethren". Since Christ, in this passage of scripture, is also called the "Son", he is thus the first-born of many sons of God. For further illustration of this teaching, let us look at:

Hebrews 2:10-11:

For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering. For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren ...

Here, God is pictured as "bringing many sons to glory" through the "pioneer of their salvation" -- Christ. Although there is no direct mention of "first-born" or "first-fruits" in this passage of scripture, we do see a mention of "pioneer" (RSV). Other versions, instead of "pioneer", use such words as "author" (Young), "leader" (Phillips), and "originator" (NIV, margin).

Also, the reference to "glory" in Hebrews 2:10, and the reference to "glorified" in Romans 8:30, can be related to the mystery (or, secret) of Colossians 1:27: "Christ in you, the hope of glory". And, this hope of glory is further defined in Phil. 3:20-21: "But our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body". So, we understand that when Christ returns, the saints who have died "in Christ" will be resurrected to immortality, and the saints who are still alive at Christ's return will be "changed" to immortality. Thus, all the saints will "wear" a glorious body, just as Christ does.

Hebrews 12:22-24:

But ye came to Mount Zion, and to a city of the living God, to the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of messengers, to the company and assembly of the first-born in heaven enrolled, and to God the judge of all, and to spirits of righteous men made perfect, and to a mediator of a new covenant -- Jesus, and to blood of sprinkling, speaking better things than that of Abel!" (Young)

This reference to "first-born" deals with those who are saints under the new covenant; and Jesus is said to be the mediator of this new covenant. These saints are members of the "company and assembly of the first-born in heaven enrolled". Can there possibly be more than one group of believers who are members of this grand company and assembly? There is only one such company, for by definition, "first-born" implies one only. So, exactly who are the members of this particular company of believers? They are the saints of the new covenant (or, new testament), irrespective of race, social status, or sex, for we read in Galatians 3:28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus."


So, let us exult in the words of Paul as recorded in Ephesians 4:4-6: "There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all."

Just as surely as there is one God and Father, and one Lord (Christ Jesus), there is also one hope of the saints. This hope is the hope of glory, and so will be realized in Christ when He returns as both the first- born and first fruits of the saints. Then, all believers who have been so glorified will become, in fact, members of the "company and assembly of the first-born" (Hebrews 12:23).

[All scriptural quotations are taken from the NKJV.]

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