Why is the tribe of Dan missing from Revelation 7:5-8?

  • We have been studying the book of Revelation and it was noted that the tribe of Dan was missing from the list of tribes of Israel listed in Revelation 7:5-8. Is there any biblical explanation why Dan was excluded from this list?

    5 From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed,
    from the tribe of Reuben 12,000,
    from the tribe of Gad 12,000,
    6 from the tribe of Asher 12,000,
    from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000,
    from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000,
    7 from the tribe of Simeon 12,000,
    from the tribe of Levi 12,000,
    from the tribe of Issachar 12,000,
    8 from the tribe of Zebulun 12,000,
    from the tribe of Joseph 12,000,
    from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.
    (NIV)

    Has anyone considered going back into the earlier listings and seeing just what the names meant.... the reason each name was given to each the sons? If you do this with the Revelation list, and look at the names collectively, it should give an indication of why these names may have been used. The meanings of the names collectively provide the characteristics of what a particular group should share.... that is.... Christ's Church. The other reasons listed below may just as well come into play, and since we are all yet seeing "dimly", I am merely offering another angle.

  • Mike

    Mike Correct answer

    8 years ago

    Here is the list of 12 tribes of Israel from Genesis, Numbers and Revelation:

    12 Tribes of Israel

    Genesis 29-30    Numbers 1    Revelation 7
    
    Reuben           Reuben       Reuben
    Simeon           Simeon       Simeon
    Levi                          Levi
    Judah            Judah        Judah
    Dan              Dan
    Naphtali         Naphtali     Naphtali
    Gad              Gad          Gad
    Asher            Asher        Asher
    Isaachar         Isaachar     Isaachar
    Zebulun          Zebulun      Zebulun
    Joseph                        Joseph
                     Ephraim      
                     Manasseh     Manasseh
    Benjamin         Benjamin     Benjamin
    

    Jacob (Israel) had twelve sons: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin (Genesis 29:32 - 30:24 and Genesis 35:18). However the twelve tribes turned into thirteen when Jacob gave Joseph a ‘double portion’. This meant that each of his two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, became a tribe, rather than just the one tribe of Joseph (Genesis 48:5). However this thirteen became twelve again as the tribe of Levi received no land. The Levites were only given certain cities and was the tribe of the priesthood who received the tithes of the other twelve tribes who tithed from their land.

    Therefore the difference between the first and second column is that Joseph was split into Ephraim and Manasseh, while Levi was dedicated to the Lord. In Revelation Levi is very conspicuously brought back along side of the others. Obviously this is very symbolic, indicating that the priesthood is over. Now, bringing Levi back is effectively going back to the time before Jacob gave Joseph the double portion, so technically Dan should still be on the list and Ephraim and Manasseh should not, being that they are already represented in Joseph! Truly this is odd and must have some symbolic meaning.

    If we assume Dan is removed due to its idolatry (Judges 18:30-31), then Manasseh is added to fill Dan’s place to keep the number twelve. Possibly the return of Levi and exclusion of Dan indicates that the Levitical priesthood was over and original election according to the flesh really did not matter any more. These tribes are actually symbolic of the whole invisible church ‘extended’ through history. This means they are not a strict grouping at a given time in history, otherwise Joseph and one of his sons would not be on the same list.

    Hey Mike, your chart was good but it made it hard to see who was included and who was excluded. I modified it, I hope you don't mind. It makes it clearer to see the dis/continuity as well as placing Ephraim and Manesseh under Joseph where they would logically be.

    @DanO'Day - great that's better. Cheers.

    I'm surprised no one has mentioned Gen. 49:16-17. (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis%2049:16-17&;version=NKJV) yet. Not that I know what it means. It just usually comes up in these discussions.

    The opposite my friend, the church is not in the bible. The people [kahal] of Israel is in. This hymn is upside down: "tribes are actually symbolic of the whole invisible church"

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Content dated before 6/26/2020 9:53 AM