We hear about the firstlings in the offering of the righteous Abel who: “Brought of the firstlings of his flock and of their fat” (Gen 4:4), which meant the best he had. That was of course before the written Law... But in the Law of Moses, God organized the firstlings in everything, whether man or animal or fruits of the trees. About the first-born, the Lord said:
“Sanctify to Me all the first-born, whatever opens the womb both of man and animal; it is Mine” (Ex 13:2).
And the first-born among all the people used to be for the Lord to serve Him, till they were replaced by the house of Levi and the house of Aaron. They are symbolically and spiritually the first-born... Even after choosing the house of Levi, the first-born kept its place as holy to the Lord, and a sacrifice was offered for him in the Temple. And so it was said about the Lord Jesus Christ that on the fortieth day of His birth: “They brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “every male who opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”, and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord” (Lk 2:22,23).
What then do we offer the Lord of our children?!
Does not giving include children also?! If not every first-born, then at least some of the children... If not the only son, like our Father Abraham when he took his only son Isaac to offer him, then at least one of the sons... whether he be required for the Lord as a priest, a monk or for the service of consecration, whatever it may be...
Offering the firstlings is stronger than the tithes...
Because it is all one possesses at that time, as when Hannah offered her only son Samuel to the Lord, and also John the Baptist, the only son of Zacharias and Elizabeth. The Lord Jesus Christ is also the first-born of the Virgin and also her only son, not only at the time of His birth, but all through her life... The first-born has his great status and has his joy. Offering him to the Lord means giving priority to the Lord over oneself, in respect of the giver.
The commandment of the first-born was not restricted to the first-born son, but included all that is first-born. So the Lord asked for the first of :
The seed of the land and the fruits of the trees.
And He said about that: “The first of the first-fruits of your land you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God” (Ex 23:19), and, “You shall bring a sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest to the priest. He shall wave the sheaf before the Lord, to be accepted on your behalf” (Lev 23:10), and, “You shall take some of the first of all the produce of the ground... put it in a basket... And you shall go to the one who is the priest in those days... Then you shall set it before the Lord your God” (Deut 26:2-10).
The Lord also commanded concerning the first-born of the animals.
He said: “You shall set apart to the Lord all that open the womb, that is, every firstling that comes from an animal which you have; the males shall be the Lord’s. But every firstling of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb” (Ex 13:12,13)... “All that open the womb are Mine, and every male firstling among your live-stock, whether ox or sheep. But the firstling of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb” (Ex 34:19).
And also the first of the ground meal...
Even when they used to bake the ground meal for bread, it was said in the Book of Ezekiel: “You shall give to the priest the first of your ground meal, to cause a blessing to rest on your house” (Ezek 44:30).
And so the Lord takes from the firstlings of all that you possess, as we have discussed this issue before here on st-takla.org in other sections. You make the Lord first in everything. He is the first to take from your trees, your land, your sheep and your cattle and also the first in your children. So the Lord blesses all. And even when the Levites replaced the first-born, it was required to offer a sacrifice for their first-born to redeem him, so the Lord said: “And all the first-born of man among your sons you shall redeem” (Ex 13:13,15).
How do we then fulfil the commandment of the firstling these days?
Not all people’s possessions are of the produce of land, sheep or cattle. In our present time:
+ You give to the Lord the first pay that you receive from your job, preferably the first month of your pay.
+ You also offer the Lord your first pay rise and the first increase when you are promoted and the first allowance and the first pay for over-time work. For a doctor, that could be, for example, the fees of the first patient or the first surgery. For the teacher, it is the first private lesson... And so on with all the other vocations.
Adding to the tithes and the firstlings, God has another sharing in your possessions, that is:
God’s right in vows:
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