352. That the "firstlings of the flock" signify that which is of the Lord alone, is evident from the firstlings or firstborn in the representative church, which were all holy, because they had relation to the Lord, who alone is the "firstborn." Love and the faith thence derived are the "firstborn." All love is of the Lord, and not one whit of it is of man, therefore the Lord alone is the "firstborn." This was represented in the ancient churches by the firstborn of man and of beast being sacred to Jehovah (Exod. 13:2, 12, 15); and by the tribe of Levi, which in the internal sense signifies love-though Levi was born after Reuben and Simeon who in the internal sense signify faith-being accepted instead of all the firstborn, and constituting the priesthood (Num. 3:40-45; 8:14-20). Of the Lord as the firstborn of all, with respect to His human essence, it is thus written in David:
He shall call Me, My Father, My God, and the rock of My salvation. I will also make Him My firstborn, high above the kings of the earth (Ps. 89:26-27).And in John:
Jesus Christ the firstborn of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth (Rev. 1:5).
Observe that the firstborn of worship signify the Lord, and the firstborn of the church, faith.