The Lord said to Moses, “Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether human or animal.”-Exodus 13:1-2
Today I want to talk about the redemption of the firstborn males.
This is very important because it establishes the fundamental Scriptural principle of being delivered from death by having someone (or something) substituted in your place.
While modern day believers are quite familiar with this idea of substitution, it was not well understood in Moses’s day, nor is it very well understood by the world in our time.
“What do you mean it’s necessary to have someone die for my sins?” is the cynical retort many of us get when attempting to share the Gospel with someone.
Even among the Jewish people, both historically and today, they don’t view the Messiah’s purpose as one who substituted Himself to rescue individual souls.
They hold to a more nationalistic view whereby the Messiah will return Israel to glory as a nation and establish His physical kingdom on earth.
The first thing you need to know is that whenever the Bible speaks of the firstborn, it means ONLY the firstborn males.
And this was a principle that was to be applied to both humans and animals.
Once the Law of Moses was established, it became a custom that within 30 days of birth, the father would redeem his firstborn son by paying a designated amount of money to the High Priest.
Remember “redeem” means “to buy back”.
So the father was purchasing back his son from God.
Now how was this principle of redemption demonstrated in the plague of the death of the firstborn?
In Egypt, the firstborns were sacrificed in order that the firstborns of Israel could live.
Or probably a better and more accurate way to put it is that the Egyptian firstborns HAD TO BE SACRIFICED so that the firstborns of Israel could live.
This might be a bit difficult to grasp but in Israel, the firstborns by virtue of being firstborn were set apart to be sacrificed to God.
They had to be bought back.
They had to be redeemed.
Or else their very lives were to be sacrificed to God.
So again the Egyptian firstborn were sacrificed on behalf of the Hebrew firstborn.
We see this very same principle in Genesis with Abraham’s firstborn son Isaac born from Sarah.
Being the firstborn, Isaac was to be sacrificed but by substituting a ram, his life was bought back or redeemed.
And thus he lived.
In Scripture, there are two kinds of redemption.
One kind deals with the act of a relative or “kinsman” who substitutes himself or goes out of his way to help out a family member.
This person is called a “kinsman redeemer” or in Hebrew GA-AL.
This usually involved stepping in to pay for property in order to keep ownership of a given piece of land in the family.
Or it could involve marrying one’s deceased brother’s wife to ensure the perpetuity of the deceased brother’s line of inheritance.
However, the second type of redemption and the one we are talking about here involves deliverance accomplished by paying a ransom.
It is NOT connected to the rights of a relative.
In Hebrew this kind of redemption is called PADAH.
One interesting point is that while we’re given the choice to kill a donkey instead of redeeming it, we do NOT have that same choice when it comes to humans.
This brings to the forefront a very important principle.
God values human life so much that without exception every human male firstborn absolutely MUST be redeemed.
This is another good reason why I believe abortion is wrong and is murder.
That life in the womb doesn’t belong to the mother, it belongs to God.
So to summarize, the spiritual principle established here is that all human life must be redeemed.
Just as Egypt paid a terrible price to redeem Israel which was the death of their firstborns, we too need to be redeemed.
We need somebody to step in and substitute Himself for our lives.
We all need a redeemer or a “savior”
THIS IS NOT OPTIONAL!
Can you see how the entire premise for Yeshua’s substitutionary death is now established?