This word "firstborn" (prōtotokos) is used in the Bible in several distinct senses.

1. its OT background refers to

a.  the firstborn belongs to YHWH (BDB 114, KB 131, cf. Exod. 13:2,12; 22:29; 34:19; Num. 3:13)

b.  the pre-imminence of the firstborn son of the family (cf. Deut. 21:17; Ps. 89:27; Luke 2:7; Rom. 8:29; Heb. 11:28)

2. its use in Col. 1:15 speaks of Jesus as the first of creation which is a possible OT allusion to Pro. 8:22-31, or God's agent of creation (cf. John 1:3; 1 Cor. 8:6; Col. 1:15-16; Heb. 1:2)

3. its use in Col. 1:15,18; 1 Cor. 15:20,23; Rev. 1:5 refers to Jesus as the firstborn from the dead

4. it is an OT title used of the Messiah (cf. Ps. 89:27; Heb. 1:6; 12:23); it is a title which combines several aspects of the primacy and centrality of Jesus. 


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