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Exodus 4:22-26 Pt.

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October 1, 2014

Lets go to Exodus 4:22-26 one more time to look at another aspect of the gospel found in
it:

And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my
firstborn:
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And I say unto thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me: and if thou
refuse to let him go, behold, I will slay thy son, even thy firstborn.
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And it came to pass
by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him.
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Then Zipporah
took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said,
Surely a bloody husband art thou to me.
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So he let him go: then she said, A bloody
husband thou art, because of the circumcision.

Weve talked about what it means that Israel is Gods firstborn, and weve shown how
that position is associated with blood and redemption in the Jewish mind. The blood of
Moses son satisfied God and saved Moses, the blood offered for the firstborn in Passover
redeemed the whole family, and later the Levites replaced the firstborn to prevent wrath.
Of course this all points us to Christ who is the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of
the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood
(Rev. 1:4).

Now, weve talked only a little about the responsibilities of the firstborn in ancient
Israel, and now Id like to revisit that topic and go a little further with it. Specifically Id
like to show the role of the firstborn as a redeemer. To begin lets look at the Jewish
concept of redemption:

All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine, and of the wheat, the firstfruits of them
which they shall offer unto the LORD, them have I given thee.
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And whatsoever is first ripe in
the land, which they shall bring unto the LORD, shall be thine; every one that is clean in thine
house shall eat of it.
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Every thing devoted in Israel shall be thine.
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Every thing that openeth
the matrix in all flesh, which they bring unto the LORD, whether it be of men or beasts, shall be
thine: nevertheless the firstborn of man shalt thou surely redeem, and the firstling of unclean
beasts shalt thou redeem.
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And those that are to be redeemed from a month old shalt thou
redeem, according to thine estimation, for the money of five shekels, after the shekel of the
sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.
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But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or
the firstling of a goat, thou shalt not redeem; they are holy: thou shalt sprinkle their blood
upon the altar, and shalt burn their fat for an offering made by fire, for a sweet savour unto
the LORD (Num. 18:12-17).

So the priests were allowed to eat the best fruits and meats in all of Israel, but they
werent allowed to eat anything unclean or to eat human beings. The firstborn males
belonged to the Lord, and so they were given to the Levites, but they were redeemed by
their families with money. The meaning of redemption in both Greek and Hebrew is
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to ransom, and essentially thats what they were doing: they bought the oldest son back
from the Lord. The animals were sacrificed and their blood was offered, but a Jewish baby
was saved by the payment of a ransom; he was redeemed.

Now think about that within the context of the Exodus and the Passover and youll see
the theme and pattern. The firstborn were bought with a price to prevent wrath, and the
whole family participated in the deliverance. The firstborn, then, were a type of
redeemer through their redemption, and this role carried on into adulthood. Boaz wanted
to redeem Ruth, but he had to ask the closer kinsman (Ruth 4:4). The Sadducees
brought up a question of marriage and widowhood that started with the oldest brother
and worked downwards (Mt. 22:25-26); the next-eldest brother was responsible for the
widow until they were all finally dead. The firstborn was responsible for the well-being
and preservation of his family, so this is why he received the double portion, and thats
what well look at next: the Jewish concept of the redeemer:

If thy brother be waxen poor, and hath sold away some of his possession, and if any of his kin
come to redeem it, then shall he redeem that which his brother sold (Lev. 25:25).

This first responsibility is to restore that which was lost. Land was a major part of the
Israelite inheritance, so to be without it is a failure. God promised the possession to
Abraham and his descendants, so if one of them sold his portion out of necessity, the
firstborn was expected to reclaim it to keep it within the family. Skip down a little
further and youll see that this restoration was more than just for land:

And if a sojourner or stranger wax rich by thee, and thy brother that dwelleth by him wax
poor, and sell himself unto the stranger or sojourner by thee, or to the stock of the strangers
family:
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After that he is sold he may be redeemed again; one of his brethren may redeem him
(Lev. 25:47-48).

If an Israelite sold himself into slavery, it was the responsibility of the redeemer to pay
his debt and free him. Boaz redeemed Ruth from widowhood. If a man died without
having children, it was the next-eldest brothers responsibility to produce children for
him. If an Israelite was murdered, the redeemer was expected to act as his avenger, and to
hunt down the murderer and kill him (Dt. 19:1-13). In short, Any duty which a man
could not perform by himself had to be taken up by his next of kin.
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1
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/morph?l=lutrwsis&la=greek#lexicon
2
http://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H6299&t=KJV
3
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6734goel
Well, that brings us to the place where we can see God as the Redeemer of Israel:

I am the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid
you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great
judgments (Ex. 6:6).

Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them
in thy strength unto thy holy habitation (Ex. 15:13).

God revealed himself as Israels redeemer, and Israel saw him as such. But this title
wasnt only given to him after the Exodus; this was something he was known for long
before:

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:
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And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:
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Whom I
shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be
consumed within me (Job 19:25-27).

Job understood that God was his redeemer from the grave, and this brings us to the main
point: Christ is revealed as Gods Firstborn Redeemer in the New Testament:

I was interested to learn that Christ is never called Redeemer in the New Testament,
but the work of a redeemer is ascribed to him. This is important because a kinsman
redeemer didnt necessarily offer blood, but the firstborn did.

Christ is Gods Firstborn...

...who ransoms us...
There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;
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Who
gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time (1 Tim. 2:5-6).

...by his own blood...
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace
that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
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As obedient children,
not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:
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But as he
which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
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Because it
is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
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And if ye call on the Father, who without respect
of persons judgeth according to every mans work, pass the time of your sojourning
here in fear:
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Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible
things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition
from your fathers;
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But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without
blemish and without spot (1 Pt. 1:13-19).

...for eternity...
But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more
perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
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Neither
by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the
holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us (Heb. 9:11-12).

...from the curse...
Christ hath redeemed us fromthe curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it
is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:
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That the blessing of Abraham
might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of
the Spirit through faith (Gal. 3:13-14).

...from the law...
Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant,
though he be lord of all;
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But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed
of the father.
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Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the
elements of the world:
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But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his
Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
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To redeem themthat were under the
law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
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And because ye are sons, God
hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
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Wherefore
thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ
(Gal. 4:1-7).

...from iniquity...
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
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Teaching us
that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and
godly, in this present world;
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Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious
appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
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Who gave himself for us,
that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar
people, zealous of good works (Tit. 2:11-14).

...for justification...
But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by
the law and the prophets;
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Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus
Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
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For all have
sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
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Being justified freely by his grace
through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
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Whom God hath set forth to be a
propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of
sins that are past, through the forbearance of God (Rom. 3:21-25).

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