By Charles H. Welch
Much that is implied by the word ‘birthright’ will be found in the article
entitled ADOPTION, but as the word birthright
has a place in the unfolding of the message of Hebrews, some attention
must be given to it here. The Greek word translated ‘birthright’ in Hebrews
12:16 is prototokia, and the Greek
word translated ‘firstborn’ in Hebrews 12:23 is prototokos,
and these two words are the foci of the structure of Hebrews 12:15-25,
which we here set out.
The earlier part of Hebrews 12, namely verses 5-14 deals with sons, and of what all sons are partakers. The second part of Hebrews 12, namely verses 15-25 deals with firstborn sons and with the special blessings to which the firstborn may attain. Here comes the example of Esau. Esau for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. The Philippians on higher ground but in a parallel case were warned about those whose ‘god is their belly’ in the same chapter that speaks of pressing on to the prize of the high calling (Phil. 3).
Mount Sion is first mentioned in Scripture in 2 Samuel 5:7. It was a stronghold, and held out against the people of Israel, even though Jerusalem itself had fallen to them. When David however was crowned king over all Israel, Joab as an overcomer, effected an entry into Sion and it became the city of David. Those who press on, as the Hebrews were exhorted to, those who run as the Philippians were exhorted to, they find their place in the heavenly Sion. Those who do not sell their birthright for a few moments of ease in this life, find their inheritance among the church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven. (For fuller and further light on this aspect of truth, see PRIZE, PERFECT, PHILIPPIANS and HEBREWS).