Question: In Jeremiah 31:9, Ephraim is called God's "firstborn," but in Joshua 17:1, Manasseh is the firstborn. Romans 8:29 calls Jesus the firstborn. How many "firstborns" of God are there? | thebereancall.org

TBC Staff

Question: In the Q&A of August re Mart De Haan, you said that God never called Israel His Son. But in Exodus:4:22-23, God calls Israel "my son, even my firstborn." In Jeremiah:31:9, Ephraim is called God's "firstborn," but in Joshua:17:1, Manasseh is the firstborn. Romans:8:29 calls Jesus the firstborn. How many "firstborns" of God are there?

Response: What I said was true, but I wasn't precise enough. Mart De Haan was right that historically Hosea:11:1 was about Israel being delivered from Egypt, but he denied Matthew's prophetic application. A major reason for God's calling Israel His son and firstborn was to foretell Christ's coming out of Egypt as a child. My objection was Mart's claim that Matthew was wrong.

Yes, God calls Israel "my son" (Ex 4:22,23) two or three times. However, the term "Son of God" is found 45 times in the Bible and always refers to Christ. Although called the "firstborn," never is Israel "the only begotten Son of God."

What is said of Christ could not be said of Israel. Matthew, inspired of the Holy Spirit, wasn't wrong!

Manasseh was the firstborn of Joseph, but Jacob bestowed the blessing and rank of the firstborn upon Ephraim (Gn 48:12-20). Jesus is "the firstborn of every creature" (Col:1:15) by rank; and He is "the firstborn from the dead" (Col:1:18)--the first one resurrected never to die again.

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