Revelation Chapters 7:5-8
Revelation 7:5-8 – …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.
Most Jews alive today do not know which tribe they come from. But God does! And He purposely selects 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes. You may notice when you read (Rev. 7:5-8), that 2 tribes are missing and 2 others have been substituted in their places. Why?
Some scholars believe the tribe of Dan is missing because the Jewish Antichrist, known as the False Prophet, will be a descendant. This certainly seems to be the meaning of an ancient prophecy that Jacob gave about the tribes of Israel in the last days:
Gen. 49:17 “Dan will be a serpent in the way, a venomous viper by the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that his rider falls backward”.
We can expect the Holy Spirit to move on the hearts of people at the beginning of the Tribulation and culminate with the second coming of Christ.
Later (in Revelation 14), we’ll discover another 144,000. See if you think that they are the same or different.
From this list of 12 names both Dan (who we just discussed), and Ephraim are omitted. Dan was omitted because of the evil in his life. On the other hand, Levi, Joseph, and Manasseh help to make up the twelve. Levi was not listed before, because he received no land. He was of the priestly tribe which inherited no land. God chooses whom He will.
Of the tribes sealed, we are given a peculiar list. In my study: “What’s in a Name,” we see that the tribes of Israel are usually listed in various orders with Manasseh and Ephraim and not Levi. Each list of names tells the redemption story in a slightly different way. The following version of the story for this list in Revelation is as follows:
- “I will praise the Lord” (
- “The Lord has looked upon my affliction” (
- “Good fortune has come” (
- “Happy and blessed am I” (
- “I have struggled” (
- “God has made me forget my toil”(
- “The Lord has heard I was unloved” (
- “My husband will be joined unto me” (
- “God has given me my reward” (
- “Now my husband will dwell with me” (
- “God has taken away my reproach” (
- “Son of the right hand” (
I will praise the Lord. The Lord has looked upon my affliction. Good fortune has come [and] happy and blessed am I. I have struggled [but] God has made me forget my toil. The Lord has heard I was unloved, [but now] my husband will be joined unto me. God has given me my reward. Now my husband will dwell with me, [because] God has taken away my reproach [by the] Son of [His] right hand.
In the tribes sealed among the 144,000, we find Dan and Ephraim missing, and Joseph and Levi included. While Ephraim is possibly hidden within the tribe of Joseph, this oddity should cause us to seek out why the Lord has excluded these two tribes in the list of the 144,000 servants.
Recall from Revelation 7:3, those who mourned over Jerusalem in Ezekiel 9 and were given the protective mark, are those who abhorred the idolatry around them. Interestingly, we find the epitome of idolatry in the Old Testament centered in Dan and in Bethel, which was in Ephraim. Jeroboam chose Dan and Bethel to erect two golden calves for Israel to worship, instead of worshiping the Lord in Jerusalem at the temple:
1 Kings 12:26-29 – And Jeroboam said in his heart, “Now the kingdom may return to the house of David: If these people go up to offer sacrifices in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then the heart of this people will turn back to their lord, Rehoboam king of Judah, and they will kill me and go back to Rehoboam king of Judah.” Therefore the king asked advice, made two calves of gold, and said to the people, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, which brought you up from the land of Egypt!” And he set up one in Bethel, and the other he put in Dan.
1 Kings 12:30-33 – Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before the one as far as Dan. He made shrines on the high places, and made priests from every class of people, who were not of the sons of Levi. Jeroboam ordained a feast on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, like the feast that was in Judah, and offered sacrifices on the altar. So he did at Bethel, sacrificing to the calves that he had made. And at Bethel he installed the priests of the high places which he had made. So he made offerings on the altar which he had made at Bethel on the fifteenth day of the eighth month, in the month which he had devised in his own heart. And he ordained a feast for the children of Israel, and offered sacrifices on the altar and burned incense.
However, the idolatry for Dan and Ephraim began as far back as the period of the Judges. In Judges 17-18, we find a man from Ephraim called Micah, who erected a shrine with an ephod and other idols, complete with his own priest from the tribe of Levi. The tribe of Dan had decided to migrate north to seek out a new inheritance, when they came upon Micah’s house. They stole Micah’s idols and priest, struck down the people of Laish, and set up the ephod to worship there.
God warned that the tribes that went after idolatry would be cursed and set apart for adversity:
Deuteronomy 29:14-21 – “I make this covenant and this oath, not with you alone, but with him who stands here with us today before the LORD our God, as well as with him who is not here with us today (for you know that we dwelt in the land of Egypt and that we came through the nations which you passed by, and you saw their abominations and their idols which were among them-wood and stone and silver and gold); so that there may not be among you man or woman or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations, and that there may not be among you a root bearing bitterness or wormwood; and so it may not happen, when he hears the words of this curse, that he blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall have peace, even though I follow the dictates of my heart’ – as though the drunkard could be included with the sober. “The LORD would not spare him; for then the anger of the LORD and His jealousy would burn against that man, and every curse that is written in this book would settle on him, and the LORD would blot out his name from under heaven. And the LORD would separate him from all the tribes of Israel for adversity, according to all the curses of the covenant that are written in this Book of the Law.”
The following passage mentions both Dan and Ephraim when the wind of destruction came from the Lord in the Babylonian conquest. Judah did not learn their lesson from the idolatry that epitomized Dan and Ephraim, and thus experienced their same fate, just as the Lord warned. Note in the following passage that God’s destructive wind in the Babylonian conquest is the judgment brought by the “four winds” (Revelation 7:1), or the “four spirits” with chariots (Zechariah 6:5), as discussed earlier:
Jeremiah 4:1, 11-17 – “If you will return, O Israel,” says the LORD, “Return to Me; and if you will put away your abominations out of My sight, then you shall not be moved…. At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, “a dry wind of the desolate heights blows in the wilderness – toward the daughter of My people – not to fan or to cleanse – a wind too strong for these will come for Me; now I will also speak judgment against them.” “Behold, he shall come up like clouds, and his chariots like a whirlwind. His horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us, for we are plundered!” O Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness, that you may be saved. How long shall your evil thoughts lodge within you? For a voice declares from Dan and proclaims affliction from Mount Ephraim: “Make mention to the nations, yes, proclaim against Jerusalem, that watchers come from a far country and raise their voice against the cities of Judah. Like keepers of a field they are against her all around, because she has been rebellious against Me,” says the LORD.
After the Assyrian conquest of the northern kingdom, Ephraim and Dan still did not learn their lesson. When the King of Judah invited the remnant in the northern tribes to come to Jerusalem to worship the Lord and keep the Passover, they mocked him. Yet some people humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem. However, Dan and Ephraim were among the tribes that refused to come to Jerusalem to worship the Lord:
2 Chronicles 30:1-2, 8-11 – And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and also wrote letters to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the Passover to the LORD God of Israel. For the king and his leaders and all the assembly in Jerusalem had agreed to keep the Passover in the second month…. “Now do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the LORD; and enter His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you. For if you return to the LORD, your brethren and your children will be treated with compassion by those who lead them captive, so that they may come back to this land; for the LORD your God is gracious and merciful, and will not turn His face from you if you return to Him.” So the runners passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh, as far as Zebulun; but they laughed at them and mocked them. Nevertheless some from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and came to Jerusalem.
The book of Hosea shows that God held Ephraim responsible for the idolatry in Israel. Hosea prophesied about Ephraim’s destruction because of their spiritual harlotry that defiled Israel:
Hosea 4:17, 5:3-4, 9, 6:10 – Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone…. I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from Me; for now, O Ephraim, you commit harlotry; Israel is defiled. “They do not direct their deeds toward turning to their God, for the spirit of harlotry is in their midst, and they do not know the LORD….” Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke; among the tribes of Israel I make known what is sure…. I have seen a horrible thing in the house of Israel: There is the harlotry of Ephraim; Israel is defiled.
The prophet and musician Asaph echoes what Hosea prophesied in the following Psalm. He also points out the reason God rejected the tabernacle in Shiloh, which was in Ephraim:
Psalms 78:56-61 – Yet they tested and provoked the Most High God, and did not keep His testimonies, but turned back and acted unfaithfully like their fathers; they were turned aside like a deceitful bow. For they provoked Him to anger with their high places, and moved Him to jealousy with their carved images. When God heard this, He was furious, and greatly abhorred Israel, so that He forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent He had placed among men, and delivered His strength into captivity, and His glory into the enemy’s hand.
Psalms 78:62-68 – He also gave His people over to the sword, and was furious with His inheritance. The fire consumed their young men, and their maidens were not given in marriage. Their priests fell by the sword, and their widows made no lamentation. Then the Lord awoke as from sleep, like a mighty man who shouts because of wine. And He beat back His enemies; He put them to a perpetual reproach. Moreover He rejected the tent of Joseph, and did not choose the tribe of Ephraim, but chose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which He loved.
While Ephraim might be hidden within the tribe of Joseph as part of the 144,000 servants, Dan is definitely left out. Some believe the false prophet, or the second beast will arise out of the tribe of Dan:
Revelation 13:11-15 – Then I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns like a lamb and spoke like a dragon. And he exercises all the authority of the first beast in his presence, and causes the earth and those who dwell in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. He performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men. And he deceives those who dwell on the earth – by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived. He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed.
Note that the false prophet comes out of the earth, while the first beast comes out of the sea (Revelation 13:1). Recall from Revelation 7:2, the sea is a metaphor for Gentile nations, and the earth or land is a metaphor for Israel. Therefore, it does look like the false prophet is Jewish. In addition, the false prophet promotes idolatry in the worship of the first beast, like Dan and Ephraim promoted idolatry to Israel.
Jacob prophesied about what would befall the tribes of Israel in the last days. In the prophecy about Dan, Jacob said he would be a serpent or a viper, causing people to fall like a rider on a horse that is bitten:
Genesis 49:1, 16-17 – And Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days….” “Dan shall judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, a viper by the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider shall fall backward.”
Similar imagery appears in the judgment prophesied against Judah for their idolatry. God sent serpents and vipers because of their idolatry. It is interesting that Dan appears in this passage. Dan’s territory was north, in the direction that the Babylonians would come. This is also the same direction the “four spirits of heaven,” or the four horses rode in the Assyrian conquest (Zechariah 6:5-7):
Jeremiah 8:16-19 – The snorting of His horses was heard from Dan. The whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of His strong ones; for they have come and devoured the land and all that is in it, the city and those who dwell in it.” “For behold, I will send serpents among you, vipers which cannot be charmed, and they shall bite you,” says the LORD. I would comfort myself in sorrow; My heart is faint in me. Listen! The voice, the cry of the daughter of My people – From a far country: “Is not the LORD in Zion? Is not her King in her?” “Why have they provoked Me to anger with their carved images – with foreign idols?”
Though we cannot be dogmatic on the issue, if the false prophet is Jewish, then it is possible he will be from the tribe of Dan, based on Jacob’s prophecy about Dan being a serpent, and their exclusion from being included in the 144,000 servants of God. The false prophet will make many men fall into idolatry through the power of the first beast, whose power is from the serpent Satan:
Revelation 20:2 – He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan…
Revelation 13:4 – So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast…
Scripture also shows that you cannot serve God and go after idols, like the false prophet. You can only serve God alone and be called His servant:
Ezekiel 20:39-40 – “As for you, O house of Israel,” thus says the Lord GOD: “Go, serve every one of you his idols – and hereafter – if you will not obey Me; but profane My holy name no more with your gifts and your idols. For on My holy mountain, on the mountain height of Israel,” says the Lord GOD, “there all the house of Israel, all of them in the land, shall serve Me; there I will accept them, and there I will require your offerings and the firstfruits of your sacrifices, together with all your holy things.”
Deuteronomy 6:13-15 – You shall fear the LORD your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are all around you (for the LORD your God is a jealous God among you), lest the anger of the LORD your God be aroused against you and destroy you from the face of the earth.
Joshua 24:15-18 – “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” So the people answered and said: “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods; for the LORD our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went and among all the people through whom we passed. And the LORD drove out from before us all the people, including the Amorites who dwelt in the land. We also will serve the LORD, for He is our God.”
Joshua 24:19-25 – But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the LORD, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good.” And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the LORD!” So Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD for yourselves, to serve Him.” And they said, “We are witnesses!” “Now therefore,” he said, “put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD God of Israel.” And the people said to Joshua, “The LORD our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey!” Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and made for them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.
1 Samuel 7:3 – Then Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you return to the LORD with all your hearts, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths from among you, and prepare your hearts for the LORD, and serve Him only; and He will deliver you from the hand of the Philistines.”
2 Corinthians 6:14-16 – Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”
Going after idols is spiritual harlotry:
Exodus 34:13-17 – But you shall destroy their altars, break their sacred pillars, and cut down their wooden images (for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God), lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land, and they play the harlot with their gods and make sacrifice to their gods, and one of them invites you and you eat of his sacrifice, and you take of his daughters for your sons, and his daughters play the harlot with their gods and make your sons play the harlot with their gods. “You shall make no molded gods for yourselves.”
The 144,000 servants are called virgins. There is no doubt these servants are spiritual virgins, as they serve only God:
Revelation 14:1, 3-4 – Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand…. They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth. These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes….
The Greek word translated in this passage as “virgins” is in the feminine form. The only other place this word is found in Scripture where it is not speaking of a woman is in the following passage about the spiritual virginity of the Bride of Christ:
2 Corinthians 11:2 – For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
The 144,000 are said to not be defiled with women, which seems to specify a literal fulfillment, in that these servants will not know a woman intimately. However, defilement is more than losing ones’ virginity. Defilement with women would indicate sexual immorality. In the spiritual sense, defilement is playing the harlot with idols:
1 Corinthians 8:7 – However, there is not in everyone that knowledge; for some, with consciousness of the idol, until now eat it as a thing offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.
Though a literal fulfillment of the servants physically being virgins is not out of the question, based on the following passages, the 144,000 servants’ virginity may be speaking more of spiritual virginity, which goes along with why Ephraim and Dan are not included. In addition, the “women” who could potentially defile the servants (Revelation 14:4) might be spiritual harlots, which are religious systems that worship false gods, as discussed in the “Pre-Tribulation Rapture” study. Only those who are spiritual virgins, of a pure heart after the Lord, and not idols are able to ascend Mount Zion, the hill of the Lord:
Revelation 14:1, 4-5 – Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father’s name written on their foreheads…. These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.
Psalms 24:3-4 – Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully.
All is not lost for Ephraim and Dan. In the Millennium, God will restore Ephraim as a son, and they will never go after idols again:
Jeremiah 31:18 – “I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself: ‘You have chastised me, and I was chastised, like an untrained bull; restore me, and I will return, for You are the LORD my God. Surely, after my turning, I repented; and after I was instructed, I struck myself on the thigh; I was ashamed, yes, even humiliated, because I bore the reproach of my youth.’ Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For though I spoke against him, I earnestly remember him still; therefore My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, says the LORD.”
Ezekiel 37:19-23 – …say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel, his companions; and I will join them with it, with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they will be one in My hand.”‘ And the sticks on which you write will be in your hand before their eyes. “Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. They shall not defile themselves anymore with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will deliver them from all their dwelling places in which they have sinned, and will cleanse them. Then they shall be My people, and I will be their God.”
In a sign of grace and forgiveness, Dan is the first tribe to receive their allotment of land in the Millennium:
Ezekiel 48:1-2 – “Now these are the names of the tribes: From the northern border along the road to Hethlon at the entrance of Hamath, to Hazar Enan, the border of Damascus northward, in the direction of Hamath, there shall be one section for Dan from its east to its west side…”
In the next section, we will be introduced to a multitude that arrives in Heaven. As discussed over the last few sections, this saved multitude in Heaven is widely believed to be fruit of the 144,000 servants’ ministry. Support for this is found in the following parable of Jesus:
Matthew 21:42-46 – Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the LORD’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder.” Now when the chief priests and Pharisees heard His parables, they perceived that He was speaking of them. But when they sought to lay hands on Him, they feared the multitudes, because they took Him for a prophet.
Matthew 22:1-7 – And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.” ‘ But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
Matthew 22:8-14 – Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
The first round of servants sent out with the “Kingdom of Heaven” message was John the Baptist and his disciples (Matthew 3, Luke 7). Their message was widely rejected. The second round of servants sent out were Jesus and His disciples (Luke 10, John 20). All but John was martyred, Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans about forty years after the Jewish leaders rejected Jesus as Messiah, and the Gospel message was spread by His disciples then and now.
Those who reject the last round of servants end up in eternal punishment like those who reject the “brethren” in the “Sheep and Goat” Judgment, as discussed in the last section. This places the last round of servants in the Tribulation period, who gather a multitude for the wedding. This is further evidence that the 144,000 Jewish servants of God are the ones responsible for the great multitude that gets saved in the Tribulation period, who later are resurrected and rule with Christ in the Millennial Kingdom:
Revelation 20:4 – And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
image courtesy: Revelation_7_5 – bible-com
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We are now living in the absolute End Times as per biblical prophecy.
Our Lord Jesus Christ – King of Kings. 2nd Coming and return is IMMENENT!.
Please do not waist another a minute.
No matter what religion you serve, there is only one God.
If, you want to be assured that you will not have to endure the perilous times that will befall you.
Irrespective, of what sins you may have committed at any time of your life. If you humble yourself and ask for God’s forgiveness. He will forgive you and wash them all away and welcome you as his beloved son or daughter with open arms.
If you are not a child of Father God or have not asked Jesus Christ to come into your life yet?
I implore you to do this without delay.
Read this prayer of Salvation and ask God to forgive you now and accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour and you will be assured of eternal life.