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Why is Jesus Called the Firstborn Son of God?

By Chris McCann
March 17, 2017

True or false: Jesus is said to be God's Firstborn Son because He was born into the world of the virgin Mary?

False! Jesus' name of Firstborn has nothing to do with His earthly birth in 7 BC.

Hebrews 1:6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

God the Father brought His Firstbegotten Son into the world. This is why Jesus was called the Son of God throughout the gospel accounts.

The question that churches and their theologians have never really addressed is, why was Jesus called the Firstbegotten Son of God as He entered into the world? They assumed, incorrectly, that it had to do with His virgin birth in 7 BC.

However, when it comes to the Bible we never make assumptions. Instead we search the Scriptures and in so doing allow the Holy Spirit to instruct us as God provides meaning for His own words and terms.

What about the Greek word translated as 'firstbegotten' in Hebrews chapter 1? Is that word used elsewhere in the Bible. Yes it is. Alright, is that word used elsewhere in relationship to Jesus as the Son of God? And again, yes it is.

Well then, that's outstanding. Now all we have to do is look up how God has used the Greek word (Strong's #4416) translated as firstbegotten in these other places in order to learn its Biblical definition. The same Greek word is found in:

Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn (#4416) from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

Interesting. This verse speaks of Christ being the Firstborn---not because of His virgin birth, but because of the fact that He died and came back to life. He's the firstborn from the dead.

Also, we find the identical Greek word used in the book of Revelation.

Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, ...

Once again, the word 'first begotten' is used not due to Christ's birth into the world, but because of His death and resurrection (first begotten from the dead implies one first had to die and then resurrect).

This is very curious isn't it? As we follow the Bible to allow it to define its own terms we find that Jesus is called the first begotten, or first born Son of God---because of His death and resurrection from the dead. It clearly has nothing to do with His entry into the world.

But hold on now, didn't God say that He brought the First begotten into the world? And doesn't the Bible refer to Jesus as the Son of God repeatedly in the gospel accounts BEFORE He went to cross and before He died and resurrected early Sunday morning?

This doesn't make sense. Jesus is the Son of God based on the fact He's the first born from the dead. And yet, He entered into the world already called the first begotten and already referred to as the Son of God. How could this be possible?

In the book of Romans, we find further assurance that we're correct in our understanding that Jesus is called the First begotten Son of God based on His death and resurrection.

Romans 1:3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, ...

4 And declared to be the Son of God ... by the resurrection from the dead:

I left out some parts of the verses above so we could get a clear and direct look at what is actually being said. Jesus was declared to be the Son of God through, or via, His resurrection of the dead.

Now some like to dispute this truth. Yet, what is being said in Romans 1:4 is exactly the same truth stated in Colossians 1:18 (Firstborn from the dead) and exactly the same truth stated in Revelation 1:5 (Firstbegotton from the dead). As the language of Firstborn from the dead, or Firstbegotten from the dead certainly is the language of a the begetting of a Son.

Romans 1:4 explains a little bit more what God is saying in these other verses. In other words, Romans 1:4 does not stand alone. It is strongly supported and confirmed by these other Scriptures.

Muslims often fail to understand how God could have a Son? There is good reason for their confusion, the fault lies with the churches and congregations and their theologians that have stated or certainly implied that Christ became the Son of God through His virgin birth.

Muslims, would point out that you are saying that God has a beginning and that is an impossible thing for God. In response, the church should have said, no, no, you're not understanding this correctly at all. Of course Jesus Christ is eternal God. He has always existed from eternity past. He has always been God. One with the Father.

You need to understand that Jesus is said to be the Son of God based upon His death and resurrection. His Sonship began at the point of His rising from the dead. That's when He became the Firstborn Son of God.

The corporate church could not answer this way because they themselves never truly understood why the Bible spoke of Jesus Christ as the "Firstborn" Son of God. Until this day the churches and congregations have it all wrong.

If the churches did understand it, if they did understand that Jesus was declared to be the Son based solely upon His death and resurrection---then they would also understand that it could not have been the death and resurrection of the cross that took place in 33 AD.

Why not? Why couldn't Jesus have been declared the Son of God based upon His death on the cross and later resurrection early that Sunday morning?

The reason is, that if that were the point of the beginning of His Sonship as the Firstbegotten from the dead, then He God would not have said that He brought the first begotten into the world:

Hebrews 1:5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

Actually, at the very start of Hebrews chapter 1, in verse 2, God speaks of the Son creating the worlds:

Hebrews 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

The Son created the worlds. But that's impossible if Jesus were not declared to be the Son of God until His death and resurrection in 33 AD. Obviously the worlds (earth, moon, stars) were created over 11,000 years before 33 AD. How could the Son have created the worlds?

It appears that our idea is all wrong. The Biblical evidence firmly indicates that Jesus is the Son of God due to death and resurrection. But the same Bible also teaches that He was called the Son of God long before, eons before, He ever went to the cross in 33 AD.

We must have arrived at a wrong conclusion.

Anyone putting these things together before our day would have left things right there. Stuck without an answer.

However, due to the wonderful truth that God has opened up the Scriptures that were sealed in order to reveal a great many things never previously known, we now have an answer that solves the problem.

Revelation 13:8b ...the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.


Hebrews 4:3 For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.

Amazingly, the Bible says that Jesus died as the Lamb of God at the point of the world's foundation. It also says that works related to Sabbath rest (and the child of God has learned that Sabbath rest has to do with resting in the completed work of Christ's atonement) were likewise finished at the foundation of the world.

We now have a solution that solves all the mysteries involves.

According to the Bible, Christ died as the Lamb (sacrificial offering for sin) at the foundation of the world. This was the point of the completion of His atoning work (Hebrews 4:#) which provided forgiveness of sins for those He died for. We can also infer that God the Father raised Him up from the dead at this point in eternity past the Bible calls the foundation of the world.

Additionally, we can know that upon the rising up of Jesus at the world's foundation He was declared to be the Son of God through the resurrection of the dead (Romans 1:4). He thus became at that instant the First begotten Son of God. The First Born from the dead (well before Moses or any man that would later rise at various points in the history of this world).

Now, at that glorious point in eternity past, the risen Lord takes upon Himself the name of Son of God. And as the Son He speaks and creates this earth and universe (Hebrews 1:2). And later at the appropriate time and season according to God's time table the First begotten Son of God is brought into the world (Hebrews 1:5,6). And God publicly and openly acknowledges His Sonship as He is baptized and declared to be the beloved Son in whom the Father is well pleased:

Matthew 3:16 And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:

17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Once this understanding is presented and passes the Scripture test of harmonization with all else the Bible says. All the Bible is in agreement. We may rejoice in the conclusion that Christ died and rose again at the point of the world's foundation and was then declared to be God's Firstborn Son. We have now found solid truth.