Sacrifice your first-born


What does God mean in Exodus when He says: "you will give Me the first-born son”? Should we be sacrificing our first-born son? Did they do this before Jesus died on the cross for our sins?


This is one of the many laws that God gave to the Israelites (Exodus 22:29). It does not mean that God was asking them to sacrifice their children! Rather, it’s a re-statement of God’s words to Moses when the Lord led the Israelites out of Egypt: “Consecrate to Me every first-born male” (Exodus 13:2). Consecration means considering the son as belonging to God. God goes on to tell Moses that in the future, when first-born Jewish sons ask why this should be so, they are to be told that it commemorates the moment when the Lord brought the Israelites out of their Egyptian slavery. When Pharaoh stubbornly refused to let them go, the Lord killed every first-born son in Egypt, but spared the first-born sons of the Israelites (Exodus 13:14-16). Consecration involved a dedication ceremony. Jesus Himself – the first-born son of Mary and Joseph (Jesus had brothers and sisters: Matthew 13:55-56) – was dedicated to God in the Temple in Jerusalem (Luke 2:22-24).

In the Christian faith, Jesus Himself is described as the “first-born over all creation” and the “first-born from among the dead” (Colossians 1:15-18), and the Christian Church – in other words, all true believers in Christ – is described as “the first-born, whose names are written in heaven” (Hebrews 12:23). The practice of dedicating children (not just first-born sons) to God continues in Christian churches.

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