God’s Firstborn Sons
By Arlen L. Chitwood
Contents & Foreword
3. The Church
Appendix (Adoption, Redemption of the Body)
When referring to firstborn sons in the human realm, only one son can be in view through the natural process of procreation. But, in the divine realm, the whole of the matter is seen from a different perspective.
Though God possesses only one firstborn Son through procreation (Jesus), as in the human realm (cf. John 3:16; Hebrews 1:6), He can possess other firstborn sons through adoption (i.e., God taking a son and adopting that son into a firstborn status).
And this is exactly what God has done with one son and will do yet future with another son.
The nation of Israel is God’s son because of creation (Isaiah 43:1, 7), and this nation is God’s firstborn son because of a subsequent adoption (Romans 9:4):
Thus says the Lord: Israel is My son [because of creation], My firstborn [because of a subsequent adoption]. (Exodus 4:22b)
Then God is about to bring another firstborn son into existence. God, through His Spirit, is presently leading Christians from immaturity to maturity through what is seen in Hebrews 12:5-8 as “child-training” (the Greek word, used in both noun and verb forms in this passage, is from a form of a word referring to a young child — thus, the translation, “child-training”). And this word, contextually, has to do with “instruction” or “teaching,” which is the manner in which the translators of the KJV, NASB, and NIV translated the word in a similar context in 2 Timothy 3:16.
And those Christians who allow “child-training” (or “instruction,” “teaching”) are referred to in a present sense as sons, something possible because of a prior creation (2 Corinthians 5:17; cf. Ephesians 2:10).
Then, the present child-training of sons is with a view to adoption yet future, in order that these sons (through this future adoption) might be placed in the position of firstborn sons, allowing them to exercise the rights of the firstborn (Hebrews 12:16, 17, 23).
And the preceding is with a view to God, in that day, having three firstborn Sons (Christ, Israel, and the Church) to occupy positions of power and authority in His kingdom.
Only Sons can rule in God’s kingdom. And, within the human realm, only firstborn Sons can rule.
Sons rule the earth today (“angels” — sons because of creation), but God is about to remove the present order of sons and give the kingdom to a new order of Sons — three firstborn Sons — from the human realm.
Those forming the nation of Israel, presently God’s firstborn son but also a disobedient son, will, following the nation being brought to the place of repentance, occupy positions of power and authority over the nations from the earthly land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Those forming the Church, following the adoption into a firstborn status (as seen in Hebrews 12:23), will occupy positions of power and authority over the nations from a heavenly sphere, that heavenly sphere presently occupied by Satan and his angels.
And Christ, God’s only begotten firstborn Son, will rule the nations from both spheres of the kingdom. He will rule from David’s throne in the midst of His people, Israel (God’s firstborn son), on the earth; and He will rule from His own throne with His co-heirs (God’s firstborn son) in the heavens.
The whole of Scripture moves in this direction, beginning in the book of Genesis and ending in the book of Revelation. And that is what this book, God’s Firstborn Sons, is about.