The Number from the Tribes of Israel

New Testament: Rev 7.5–8

To read the Bible in a year, read Revelation 7 on December 16, In the year of our Lord Christ 2020

By Don Ruhl 

Revelation 7.4 says, 

And I heard the number of those who were sealed. One hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel were sealed… 

What is interesting about this is that when you read verses 5–7 you discover that a tribe of Israel is missing. However, he listed twelve tribes, but another tribe is put in place of the missing tribe. Notice what John wrote, including verse 8: 

of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand were sealed.

– Revelation 7.5–8 

John listed: Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. 

Does anything seem odd about the list? John listed Joseph, but John also listed Manasseh, which should have been included in Joseph. That means John excluded a tribe. Did you figure it out which one it was? John did not list the tribe of Dan! 

Why was Manasseh put in the place of Dan and why was Dan excluded? 

Dan was also excluded from the genealogies in First Chronicles 4–9. Something similar happened in Deuteronomy 33 where Simeon was left out. Why? 

Some think that the tribe of Dan had become small and to maintain the figure of using 12 as a perfect number one of the half tribes was substituted. 

This could also be a way of the Lord showing us that fleshly Israel is not meant, but spiritual Israel, which is the true Israel. There were true spiritual Jews from among the fleshly Jews. 

I believe that the number merely shows that the redeemed from Old Testament times has already been completed. 

At the present, the Lord is filling up number from the world that will be saved.

Questions: 

  • Is there anything that you want more than going to heaven? 
  • Is everyone going to heaven? 

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