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BibleProject Podcast
BibleProject Podcast
Firstborn: The Last Will Be First
6 Episodes
In the ancient world, firstborn sons received inheritance and blessing from their fathers. But throughout the story of the Bible, God takes this cultural norm and turns it upside-down. In this podcast series, Tim and Jon discuss the theme of the firstborn in the Bible and how God overturns human systems and redefines power.
Episode 1
God's Response to Human Power Structures
In ancient Near Eastern societies, firstborn sons were prized above all other children and inherited special privileges and authority simply because of their birth order. In this episode, Tim and Jon start a new theme study covering the theme of the firstborn. Spoiler alert: The God of the Bible opposes lots of human ideas about power, and the privilege of the firstborn is no exception. Again and again, we’ll see Yahweh picking younger siblings and people we wouldn’t expect to be his chosen representatives.
Episode 2
Seizing vs. Receiving Power
It’s not explicitly stated, but the theme of the firstborn first appears in the opening narratives of the Hebrew Bible. In Genesis 1 and 2, Yahweh elevates humans, the latecomers of creation, to rule the land. In Genesis 3, a snake, who is some kind of spiritual being, tricks the humans despite their authority as God’s image bearers. This story is echoed in other accounts of sibling rivalry that continue throughout the Hebrew Bible. Join Tim and Jon as they discuss the land rulers and sky rulers and the theme of the firstborn in Genesis 1-3.
Episode 3
Rivalry Among Brothers
Only a few pages into the story of the Bible, the story starts to get really bleak. Cain kills his brother Abel, Cain’s descendants become famous murderers, and Noah’s youngest son violates his father and mother. And all of it happens because humans decide that power is worth the cost of harming others. In this episode, Tim and Jon discuss the dark side of human nature and the God who favors the powerless—the people who choose to trust him for blessing and exaltation.
Episode 4
Power Grabs and Patriarchs
Early in the story of the Bible, God chooses the family of Abraham, his son Isaac, and Isaac’s son Jacob as his chosen representatives to bless other peoples. But these families are full of the same rivalry, envy, and division present in any other family. What is God doing with these less-than-ideal candidates? Join Tim and Jon as they trace the theme of the firstborn in the narratives of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Episode 5
The Plague of the Firstborn
How does the plague of the firstborn from Exodus fit into the biblical theme of the firstborn? And what does it mean when Yahweh calls Israel his firstborn son? In this episode, Tim and Jon explore the theme of the firstborn in the Exodus scroll.
Episode 6
Hannah’s Poem and Power Reversals
Hannah was an oppressed woman, scorned by her husband’s rival wife because of her barrenness. But the way she prayed and trusted Yahweh through this hardship became a remarkable example of how God works through the lowly to subvert human notions of power and status. In this episode, join Tim and Jon as they trace the theme of the firstborn in the scroll of Samuel.
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