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There are multiple verses in the Old Testament where either the nation of Israel, as in Exodus 4:22; or a prominent individual from Israel's history, such as David (personally) in Psalm 89:27, or Joseph's son Ephraim (as a metaphor for the whole of Israel) in Jeremiah 31:9; is referred to as God's firstborn, or firstborn son. This designation was used to liken their position in God's sight with the birthright and the place of prominence given to a firstborn son in Israel's culture at the time, because of the fact that God had chosen Israel out of all the nations in the earth to be the people through whom the Messiah (Jesus, God the Son) was to be born, and because it was to be through David's specific lineage that Jesus' birth would occur, in addition to David's preeminence and greatness as an earthly king. The term "firstborn" in this sense is not connected to the act of physical birth (since, from a human perspective, Jacob (Israel) was born after his twin brother Esau; David was the youngest of Jesse's sons; and Ephraim was the second of Joseph's two sons), or to the unique co-equal, co-eternal relationship that has always existed between God the Father and God the Son (who, as the Nicene Creed says, was "begotten of the Father before all worlds").
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