"The General Assembly of the Church
of the First-borns."Heb. 12:22,23 .
THE Church of the First-borns" is not to be confounded with the Church of the First Resurrection. The word first, in the phrase First Resurrection, signifies better, superior. The First Resurrection includes only the Lord and "the Church, which is his Body"; in other words, the Bride Class. But in this glorified Church of the First-borns are included all those who are born of the Spirit. Those who are to be of the spirit nature will be those who have been developed throughout the Gospel Agebefore God's favor goes to the world. This Church of the First-borns includes all who come into covenant relationship with God before the New Covenant is put into force. Some will have part (an inferior part, however, to that of the Church) with the great "High Priest of our Profession" in instituting the New Covenant. They will all have some share with him in dispensing the blessings of the New Covenant to all the families of the earthto Israel first, and then to all nations.
This Church of the First-borns is prophetically pictured in the Old Testament in connection with the Passover. In that night when all the first-born of Egypt were slain, all of the first-born of Israel were passed over. These escaped because of the blood on the lintels of their houses and because of their partaking of the lamb within. We know that afterward all of the first-born of Israel were exchanged for the one tribe of Levi; and that this tribe was separated or divided into two partsone a priestly class and the other a servant class. The former were called Priests; the latter Levites; though, of course, all were Levites. These two classes were types of the Church of the Gospel Age.
"But ye are come unto Mount Zion, and unto the City of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem; to the General Assembly of the Church of the First-borns." (Heb. 12:22,23.) More properly we understand this to signify that we have approachedthis is that to which we are comingit is in sight. Some have already reached it. Our Lord has reached the goal. And some others of the First-borns have also reached the goal; and some of us have not yet reached it. But this is what we are approaching. We shall all have come into power and into our place in the Divine Plan, at the close of this Gospel Age. Thereupon will follow the "time of trouble" with which this Age will end, typified by the trembling of the mountain of Sinai. Then, in the same connection, we read that we are approaching an innumerable company of angels.
The Apostle seems to be here setting before us the glories of the future. Not only shall we see our Heavenly Father and our Heavenly Lord, and be ushered into the Assembly of the Church of the First-borns, but we shall be ushered into the presence of an innumerable company of angels. These are the angels who encamp around about those that fear the Lord and deliver them. (Psa. 34:7.) They are sent to be ministers for those who shall be heirs of salvation. (Heb. 1:14.) They have been with us here overseeing our interests; and it will be part of our joy on the spirit plane to make their acquaintance. If the Apostle had neglected to mention these, we would think it strange; for he is enumerating the things to which we are approaching.
Thus we see that the Church of the First-borns includes the "Great Company" of the Levites as thoroughly as it includes the smaller company of the Priests. As the Levites had no inheritance in the land, so not only the "Little Flock" but also the "Great Company," the servant class, the companions of the Bride, have no share in the earthly inheritance, but will have a share in the heavenly inheritance.