Revelation 7:4-8 – Part 2 – Who Are The 144,000

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Rev 7:4-8 – Who Are  The 144,000? – Part 2
Rev 7:4  And I heard the number of them which were sealed: [ and there were] sealed an hundred [ and] forty [ and] four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
Rev 7:5  Of the tribe of Juda [ were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben [ were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad [ were] sealed twelve thousand.
Rev 7:6  Of the tribe of Aser [ were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim [ were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses [ were] sealed twelve thousand.
Rev 7:7  Of the tribe of Simeon [ were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi [ were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar [ were] sealed twelve thousand.
Rev 7:8  Of the tribe of Zabulon [ were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph [ were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin [ were] sealed twelve thousand.

Introduction

We have seen that the ‘144,000 virgins who are not defiled with men’, is a spiritual statement about a spiritual group who can be and are numbered. We saw what is and what is not a Jew, and we learned that a Jew is only a Jew if he “is one inwardly.” We saw that being a Benjamite of the stock of Israel is true only in a spiritual sense, and that being a physical Benjamite of the physical stock of Israel is to be counted as nothing more than dung. We have seen that it is only those who are in Christ who are now the children of promise and are counted for the seed of Abraham. We saw that those who can be counted are the same as the 144,000 who, in Christ, are counted for the seed of Abraham. We saw that Gentiles and Jews are now both part of the commonwealth of Israel in Christ. We saw that Paul called the Corinthians, the Galatians and the Ephesians part of the commonwealth of Israel, in Christ. We saw that the “much in every way… advantage” held by being a circumcised Jew is only an advantage when one is a Jew inwardly and is circumcised of the heart, in the spirit. We saw that when Christ declared that “the flesh profits nothing”, He was teaching Paul and us that being an Israelite is no longer a physical matter, but is now a matter of the heart in the spirit.
We saw that all of Christ’s words were in parables for the purpose of taking away from those with an understanding according to man’s wisdom, even what they had with that outward understanding. We have seen that the words of this book of the revelation of Jesus Christ are words which have been spoken by Christ, and because of that they are spiritual words which man’s wisdom cannot discern or receive. We have seen that according to Christ, “if we have seen Christ, then we have seen the Father”. We have seen that the 144,000 of each of the twelve tribes are just as spiritual as are the spiritual tribes of Judah and Benjamin, which we have been told must be in Christ if they are to be counted as the 144,000 seed of Abraham.
Finally, we saw the verses of scripture which revealed that the ‘virgins which follow the Lamb… being firstfruits’, is a direct reference to those of both Jew and Gentiles who are said to be “a chaste virgin, espoused to Christ, who are “followers of Christ,” and who are said to be “the firstfruits of the spirit… and a kind of firstfruits.”

  So now, let us get this all straight:

1) The promises are made only to “one seed”, and that “one seed” is Christ.

Gal 3:16  Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

2) If we are “in Christ”, Jews or Gentiles, only then are we “counted for the seed”.

Rom 9:8  That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

3) “WE are the circumcision…” There is no other ‘circumcision.

Php 3:3  For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh

4) “WE… are the children of promise.” There are no other “children of promise.”

Gal 4:28  Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.

5) “WE are not the children of the bondwoman, but of the free.”

Gal 4:31  So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

6) “YE are… the children of God…”

Gal 3:26  For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus..

7) We are “the Israel of God”.

Gal 6:15  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
Gal 6:16  And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. 

The one thing that should be clear to ‘him that hath wisdom’ is that the 144,000 are “the firstfruits unto God”, and the ‘firstfruits’ are “of all the tribes of the children of Israel.”  “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision [ being physically circumcised or physically descended from Abraham] availeth anything, nor uncircumcision [ those who are not physically descended from Abraham] but a new creature [ is all that counts], and “as many as walk according to this rule [ that both are one, and a “new creature” is all that matters in Christ] peace be on them and on THE ISRAEL OF GOD.” Obviously the ‘Israel of God’ has nothing to do with physical descent or physical, ‘outward’ circumcision. Those counted for the seed of Abraham and counted as the symbolic144,000 are those who are “in Christ,” the “one seed” of Gal 3:16.

Here is Gal 6:15-16 in the MSG  Version:

Gal 6:15  Can’t you see the central issue in all this? It is not what you and I do– submit to circumcision, reject circumcision. It is what God is doing, and he is creating something totally new, a free life!
Gal 6:16  All who walk by this standard are the true Israel of God-– his chosen people. Peace and mercy on them!

Because it will always be the focus of the natural man, and because you and I will be persecuted for standing for this Truth, we will now consider what is the “promise made to Abraham” to which we are now heirs, and we will ask what are

‘All the promises [ which are] of God [ are only] in Christ?”

2Co 1:20  For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

Remember, the only way to be an heir of the promise made to Abraham is to “be Christ’s”

Gal 3:29  And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Does “all the promises of God,” mentioned by Paul to Gentile Corinthians, mean only the promises of God  made to the Gentiles? If we believe what we have just been told, then the truth is that ‘in Christ we are Abraham’s ONE seed.’ 

Gal 3:16  Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

If that is true then how could there possibly be any ‘promises of God’ made to Gentiles? No, there are NO PROMISES made to “the bondwoman and her son”

Gal 4:30  Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.

But, if you have any doubt about what promises Paul has in mind when he says ‘all the promises of God’, notice what he says on this same subject in this same book: 

2Co 7:1  Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Which promises are “these promises?” They are the three promises Paul had just quoted, in the previous chapter.

To whoever these promises are made, it will once again reveal to us who Paul and the holy spirit consider to be “the Israel of God” to whom “all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen.” Notice what these promises are and to whom they are made. Were they made to Israel, or were they made to these Corinthian Gentiles to whom Paul is writing? Let us see what the scriptures reveal. Here are the promises to which 2Co 7:1 refer:

2Co 6:16  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

“I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people”  To whom was this promise made???

Lev 25:1  And the LORD spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying,
Lev 25:2  Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD.
Lev 26:11  And I will set my tabernacle among you: and my soul shall not abhor you.
Lev 26:12  And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.
Lev 26:13  I am the LORD your God, which brought you forth out of the land of Egypt, that ye should not be their bondmen; and I have broken the bands of your yoke, and made you go upright.

“And the Lord spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying, speak unto the children of Israel and say unto them… And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.” This promise is made only to Israel! And yet Paul says we are “the Israel of God,” and he applies this promise to the Gentile Corinthians who were ‘ in Christ.’

2Co 6:17  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

To whom is this promise made?

Isa 52:9  Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the LORD hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.
Isa 52:11  Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the LORD.
Isa 52:12  For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the LORD will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your rereward.

“Depart ye… go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord… The Lord hath comforted His people, He hath redeemed Jerusalem … the God of Israel will be your rereward.” This promise is made only to “His people” Jerusalem and Israel. Yet Paul says that physical “Jerusalem that now is… is in bondage” and “Jerusalem which is above… is the mother of us all,” and he goes on to apply this promise also to the Gentile Corinthians.

Gal 4:25  For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
Gal 4:26  But J erusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

2Co 6:18  And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Once again let us ask to whom is this third promise made?

Jer 31:1  At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.
Jer 31:9  They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

Let me summarize these two verses like this: “I… will… be the God of all the FAMILIES OF ISRAEL, and THEY shall be my people… for I am a Father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.” Once again, this promise is made only to the families of Israel.’ Once again Paul applies it to the Gentile converts.
Yes, if ever there was a “replacement theologian,” the apostle Paul was that theologian.

Does this mean we will inherit the land?

Yes, indeed it does, if one understands what is “the land”. While the whole orthodox Christian world understands Egypt to symbolize the world and all the things of this world; while the whole orthodox Christian world sees the coming out of Egypt and coming out of the world and beginning to serve God; while the whole world understands that the giants in the land symbolize the inward more spiritual struggles we face even after coming out of Egypt, that seems to be the limit of spiritual understanding for most orthodox Christians. Even those who do see beyond that point, seem to find it impossible to accept and apply the scriptural truth that “He is NOT a Jew which is one outwardly.” But the truth of scripture is that “the land” is our bodies which we are commanded to present to Christ as “a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God…” Physical land, like being a physical Jew, is no more than dung in the eyes of God.

Rom 12:1  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Rom 2:28  For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
Rom 2:29  But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Php 3:8  Yea doubtless, and I count all things [ of the flesh] but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

Understanding what is “the land” makes these statements much more meaningful:

Deu 24:4  Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that [ is] abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for] an inheritance.
Jer 3:9  And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks.

Why are the tribes of Ephraim and Dan not mentioned?

There are two revealing facts in this 31st chapter of Jeremiah:
1) This is the chapter in which it is revealed that God has divorced Israel “according to the flesh,” 

Jer 31:31  Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
Jer 31:32  Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day [ that] I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
Jer 31:33  But this [ shall be] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

2) Here in Jer 31 we are told “Ephraim is my firstborn.” 

Jer 31:9  They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them: I will cause them to walk by the rivers of waters in a straight way, wherein they shall not stumble: for I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my firstborn.

Yet in Rev 7:1-8 in the enumeration of the symbolic 12 tribes, neither Ephraim , nor Dan are mentioned. Ephraim was the name given to the entire northern nation also known as Israel after Solomon’s death. So in reality, only eleven of the twelve tribes are mentioned in Rev 7. Dan is left out and his name is replaced by “the tribe of Joseph.” Joseph, of course, was actually the father of both Ephraim and Manasseh. Yet Ephraim, the single largest tribe in Israel is not even mentioned. These facts simply point to the symbolism with which we are told up front, in the first verse of the first chapter, this book is “SIGNified.”
While there are no doubt other  reasons why the tribes of Ephraim and Dan are not mentioned, one purpose the omission of the names of these two tribes serves is to demonstrate that “144,000 of all the tribes of Israel”  is not to be taken physically, but it is to be understood spiritually as all who are in Christ, chosen from before the world began to be His elect. These omissions demonstrate that this book is a book of signified symbols.

Now let’s look at the other Biblical listings of “all the tribes of Israel” and see what “the sum of God’s Word” on this subject, can teach us “comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” The first place we see all 12 tribes listed where all twelve are first mentioned in the order of their birth is Gen 29-30 and Benjamin in chapter 35. The order of their birth is:
Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin.

In Gen 49, Jacob blesses all of his sons just prior to his death and the order is different:
Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph, Benjamin.

In Num 13 Moses sends one man from each tribe to spy out the land:

Num 13:1  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Num 13:2  Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them.
Num 13:3  And Moses by the commandment of the LORD sent them from the wilderness of Paran: all those men [ were] heads of the children of Israel.
Num 13:4  And these [ were] their names: of the tribe of Reuben, Shammua the son of Zaccur.
Num 13:5  Of the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat the son of Hori.
Num 13:6  Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh.
Num 13:7  Of the tribe of Issachar, Igal the son of Joseph.
Num 13:8  Of the tribe of Ephraim, Oshea the son of Nun.
Num 13:9  Of the tribe of Benjamin, Palti the son of Raphu.
Num 13:10  Of the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel the son of Sodi.
Num 13:11  Of the tribe of Joseph, [ namely], of the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi the son of Susi.
Num 13:12  Of the tribe of Dan, Ammiel the son of Gemalli.
Num 13:13  Of the tribe of Asher, Sethur the son of Michael.
Num 13:14  Of the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi the son of Vophsi.
Num 13:15  Of the tribe of Gad, Geuel the son of Machi.
Num 13:16  These [ are] the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua.

Here is the order of this list:
Reuben, Simeon, Judah, Issachar, Ephraim, Benjamin, Zebulun, Joseph of Manasseh, Dan, Asher, Naphtali, and Gad.

There is yet another order in the blessing of Moses on the twelve tribes in Deu 33. In this list Simeon is omitted, just as Dan is omitted in Rev 7. But the names of Joseph and his two sons are all mentioned. If we take Joseph’s sons as the two tribes of Joseph, we again have twelve tribes. This is their order in this list:
Reuben, Judah, Levi, Benjamin, Joseph, Ephraim , Manasseh, Zebulun, Issachar, Gad, Dan, Naphtali, Asher.

In the division of Canaan in Jos 13–19, Levi is omitted, because Levi had no inheritance in the land.

Jos 13:14  Only unto the tribe of Levi he gave none inheritance; the sacrifices of the LORD God of Israel made by fire are their inheritance, as he said unto them.
Jos 13:33  But unto the tribe of Levi Moses gave not any inheritance: the LORD God of Israel was their inheritance, as he said unto them.

In 1Ch 4-8 both Zebulun and Dan are omitted, and Manasseh is mentioned twice. Here is the order of that list
Judah, Simeon, Ruben, Gad, Manasseh, Levi, Issachar, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, Asher, Benjamin.

In Eze 48, there are two more lists of the twelve tribes. These two lists differ from each other, and they also differ from all the previous lists. In Eze 48:31-34, Levi is reckoned as one, and Joseph is reckoned as only one. In Eze 48:1-28, the subject is the division of the land, and Levi, who had no heritage in land, is omitted, while Ephraim and Manasseh are counted as two different tribes. 

Eze 48:1  Now these [ are] the names of the tribes. From the north end to the coast of the way of Hethlon, as one goeth to Hamath, Hazarenan, the border of Damascus northward, to the coast of Hamath; for these are his sides east [ and] west; a [ portion for] Dan.
Eze 48:2  And by the border of Dan, from the east side unto the west side, a [ portion for] Asher.
Eze 48:3  And by the border of Asher, from the east side even unto the west side, a [ portion for] Naphtali.
Eze 48:4  And by the border of Naphtali, from the east side unto the west side, a [ portion for] Manasseh.
Eze 48:5  And by the border of Manasseh, from the east side unto the west side, a [ portion for] Ephraim.
Eze 48:6  And by the border of Ephraim, from the east side even unto the west side, a [ portion for] Reuben.
Eze 48:7  And by the border of Reuben, from the east side unto the west side, a [ portion for] Judah.
Eze 48:8  And by the border of Judah, from the east side unto the west side, shall be the offering which ye shall offer of five and twenty thousand [ reeds in] breadth, and [ in] length as one of the [ other] parts, from the east side unto the west side: and the sanctuary shall be in the midst of it.
Eze 48:9  The oblation that ye shall offer unto the LORD [ shall be] of five and twenty thousand in length, and of ten thousand in breadth.
Eze 48:10  And for them, [ even] for the priests, shall be [ this] holy oblation; toward the north five and twenty thousand [ in length], and toward the west ten thousand in breadth, and toward the east ten thousand in breadth, and toward the south five and twenty thousand in length: and the sanctuary of the LORD shall be in the midst thereof.
Eze 48:11  [ It shall be] for the priests that are sanctified of the sons of Zadok; which have kept my charge, which went not astray when the children of Israel went astray, as the Levites went astray.
Eze 48:12  And [ this] oblation of the land that is offered shall be unto them a thing most holy by the border of the Levites.
Eze 48:13  And over against the border of the priests the Levites [ shall have] five and twenty thousand in length, and ten thousand in breadth: all the length [ shall be] five and twenty thousand, and the breadth ten thousand.
Eze 48:14  And they shall not sell of it, neither exchange, nor alienate the firstfruits of the land: for [ it is] holy unto the LORD.
Eze 48:15  And the five thousand, that are left in the breadth over against the five and twenty thousand, shall be a profane [ place] for the city, for dwelling, and for suburbs: and the city shall be in the midst thereof.
Eze 48:16  And these [ shall be] the measures thereof; the north side four thousand and five hundred, and the south side four thousand and five hundred, and on the east side four thousand and five hundred, and the west side four thousand and five hundred.
Eze 48:17  And the suburbs of the city shall be toward the north two hundred and fifty, and toward the south two hundred and fifty, and toward the east two hundred and fifty, and toward the west two hundred and fifty.
Eze 48:18  And the residue in length over against the oblation of the holy [ portion shall be] ten thousand eastward, and ten thousand westward: and it shall be over against the oblation of the holy [ portion]; and the increase thereof shall be for food unto them that serve the city.
Eze 48:19  And they that serve the city shall serve it out of all the tribes of Israel.
Eze 48:20  All the oblation [ shall be] five and twenty thousand by five and twenty thousand: ye shall offer the holy oblation foursquare, with the possession of the city.
Eze 48:21  And the residue [ shall be] for the prince, on the one side and on the other of the holy oblation, and of the possession of the city, over against the five and twenty thousand of the oblation toward the east border, and westward over against the five and twenty thousand toward the west border, over against the portions for the prince: and it shall be the holy oblation; and the sanctuary of the house [ shall be] in the midst thereof.
Eze 48:22  Moreover from the possession of the Levites, and from the possession of the city, [ being] in the midst [ of that] which is the prince’s, between the border of Judah and the border of Benjamin, shall be for the prince.
Eze 48:23  As for the rest of the tribes, from the east side unto the west side, Benjamin [ shall have] a [ portion].
Eze 48:24  And by the border of Benjamin, from the east side unto the west side, Simeon [ shall have] a [ portion].
Eze 48:25  And by the border of Simeon, from the east side unto the west side, Issachar a [ portion].
Eze 48:26  And by the border of Issachar, from the east side unto the west side, Zebulun a [ portion].
Eze 48:27  And by the border of Zebulun, from the east side unto the west side, Gad a [ portion].
Eze 48:28  And by the border of Gad, at the south side southward, the border shall be even from Tamar [ unto] the waters of strife [ in] Kadesh, [ and] to the river toward the great sea.
Eze 48:29  This [ is] the land which ye shall divide by lot unto the tribes of Israel for inheritance, and these [ are] their portions, saith the Lord GOD.

Levi had a sanctuary “in the midst of… Judah,” but was not part of the inheritance in the land, and so is omitted. The order here is:
Dan, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh. Ephraim, Reuben, Judah, Benjamin, Simeon, Issachar, Zebulon, Gad
The second list in this chapter is the names of the twelve tribes on the twelve gates of the city.

Eze 48:30  And these [ are] the goings out of the city on the north side, four thousand and five hundred measures.
Eze 48:31  And the gates of the city [ shall be] after the names of the tribes of Israel: three gates northward; one gate of Reuben, one gate of Judah, one gate of Levi.
Eze 48:32  And at the east side four thousand and five hundred: and three gates; and one gate of Joseph, one gate of Benjamin, one gate of Dan.
Eze 48:33  And at the south side four thousand and five hundred measures: and three gates; one gate of Simeon, one gate of I ssachar, one gate of Zebulun.
Eze 48:34  At the west side four thousand and five hundred, [ with] their three gates; one gate of Gad, one gate of Asher, one gate of Naphtali.
Eze 48:35  [ It was] round about eighteen thousand [ measures]: and the name of the city from [ that] day [ shall be], The LORD [ is] there.

The order here is:
Ruben, Judah, Levi, Joseph, Benjamin, Dan, Simeon, Issachar, Zebulun, Gad, Asher, and Naphtali.

Now let’s put all the listings together and we will notice that the order and the names of the twelve tribes varies greatly:

Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin.

Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Joseph, Benjamin.

Rueben, Simeon, Judah, Issachar, Ephraim, Benjamin, Zebulun, Joseph of Manasseh, Dan, Asher, Naphtali, and Gad.

Reuben, Judah, Levi, Benjamin, Joseph, Ephraim , Manasseh, Zebulun, Issachar, Gad, Dan, Naphtali, Asher.
Judah, Simeon, Ruben, Gad, Manasseh, Levi, Issachar, Naphtali, Manasseh, Ephraim, Asher, Benjamin.

Dan, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh. Ephraim, Reuben, Judah, Benjamin, Simeon, Issachar, Zebulon, Gad

Ruben, Judah, Levi, Joseph, Benjamin, Dan, Simeon, Issachar, Zebulun, Gad, Asher, and Naphtali.

Not one single list is in the same order as any of the others, and the names of Levi, Simeon, Dan, and Zebulun are missing from some of our lists. It has long been speculated that the tribe of Dan was omitted here in Rev 7 because it was given to idolatry at an early stage. But if idolatry at an early stage was any reason for having one’s name blotted out, then none of the tribes of Israel would be mentioned because they were all idolaters from the day that Rachel stole her father’s gods before going into Canaan with Jacob, the golden calf at Sinai, to the setting up of the golden calf in Samaria in the days of Jeroboam. All Israel is equally guilty of early idolatry.

Jdg 18:30  And the children of Dan set up the graven image: and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of the captivity of the land.
Exo 32:3  And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.
Exo 32:4  And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.
Exo 32:5  A nd when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD.
Gen 31:17  Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels;
Gen 31:18  And he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padanaram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan.
Gen 31:19  And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father’s.

The one thing we should see from all these lists of the twelve tribes is that there are many different reasons for leaving out a name. It is clear that the symbolism of the names themselves is not always as important as the spiritual symbolism of the number twelve. Twelve is the number of spiritual foundations. It is the number twelve which represents “all the tribes of Israel.” This is the symbol of all of God’s elect whom He has called out of all the nations of the earth.

Deu 14:2  For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.
Rev 7:4  And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

So the tribe of Judah is, for the first time in any listing of the twelve tribes. placed first. Levi, which had no inheritance with the tribes of Israel, is included in this list here in Rev 7, the tribe of Dan is not even mentioned, while the tribe of Ephraim is called the tribe of Joseph. Scripture has a reason that goes beyond simply having no set order for listing the tribes of Israel, and the one thing we have established is that physical words, including these physical names of the twelve tribes of Israel, are spiritual symbols for those who will be the foundation of the government of the kingdom of God upon this earth. The symbol of spiritual foundations is the number twelve. That is far more important than the inclusion of the tribe of Dan in the listing of those who will be the kings and priests unto God, and who are promised to “rule the nations with a rod of iron.” Eph 2 makes clear that the commonwealth of the twelve tribes of Israel, is no longer a physical commonwealth of physical Israelites, but a “one body” and a “one new man” of those who are “in Christ.”
Getting back to Eph 2, it is here that Paul explains why he appropriates ALL THESE PROMISES MADE TO ISRAEL TO HIS GENTILE CONVERTS:

Eph 2:11  Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;
Eph 2:12 That at that time ye were without Christ [ and what does being ‘without Christ’ mean?] BEING ALIENS FROM THE COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL, and strangers from the covenants of promise [ not capable of being one of the 144,000] having no hope, and without God in the world:
Eph 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus, ye who we at one time afar off [ at one time in the past] are [ NOW] made nigh by the blood of Christ.

Just what does “the blood of Christ” accomplish? It made Israel and the Gentiles “BOTH ONE”, one “inward Jew,” one “circumcision… of the heart, in the spirit,” and one “Israel of God”] for to make IN HIMSELF OF TWAIN [ Israel and Gentiles] ONE NEW MAN… AND THAT HE MIGHT RECONCILE BOTH [ ISRAEL AND GENTILES] unto God IN ONE BODY…” (vs.12-16). What room is there in this statement for two Jews, two circumcisions or two Israels? “He is NOT A JEW WHICH IS ONE OUTWARDLY…” (Rom 2:28). “They Which are the children of the flesh, THESE ARE NOT THE CHILDREN OF GOD: BUT THE CHILDREN OF PROMISE ARE COUNTED FOR THE SEED” (Rom 9:8). “We [ Gentile Galatians] brethren, as Isaac ARE CHILDREN OF PROMISE” (Gal 4:28). It is ONLY “the children of promise” who receive the promises. Will the Physical twelve tribes be ruling with those who “as Isaac are children of promise?” “What saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son [“Jerusalem which now is and is in bondage with her children” (vs. 25)] FOR THE SON OF THE BONDWOMAN SHALL NOT BE HEIR WITH THE SON OF THE FREE WOMAN” (Gal 4:30). So who then, will be “heirs according to the promise” (Gal 3:29)?: “Now WE, BRETHREN, as Isaac was, ARE THE CHILDREN OF PROMISE” (Gal 4:28) “So then, brethren we are not the children of the bondwoman but of the free” [ and “heirs according to the promise”] (Gal 4:31). Apparently, so far as God is concerned, “THE FLESH PROFITETH NOTHING” (Joh 6:63).
We are told that Christ made one statement that caused “many of his disciples [ to go] back and walk no more with him” (Joh 6:66). What was it that caused this? It was the statement that we have just quoted “the flesh profiteth NOTHING” (Joh 6:63). This statement is still causing “many of His disciples to [ go] back [ to the flesh] and walk no more with Him.” It is the “inward [ spiritual] Jew;” it is “circumcision… that is of the heart IN THE SPIRIT” (Rom 2:29); and it is the spiritual “Israel of God” (Gal 6:15-16)], that “are counted for the seed”(Rom 9:8). Hence the symbol of “144,000… 12,000 from all the tribes of Israel” is the symbol of the true “Israel of God” (Gal 6:15-16).

The Singleness That Is In Christ

Here is Paul’s concern for all of his converts.

2Co 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity [ Gk. – singleness] that is in Christ.”

Are you beginning to see the singleness of our calling? We Gentiles ‘were’ in the past ‘aliens from the commonwealth of the twelve tribes, of Israel’, but now we are ‘made nigh by the blood of Christ.’ Just how close to the twelve tribe commonwealth are we now? “NOW THEREFORE YE [ GENTILE EPHESIANS] ARE NO MORE STRANGERS AND FOREIGNERS, BUT FELLOW CITIZENS WITH THE [12,000 FROM EACH TRIBE] SAINTS. In other ages [ this] was not made known… as it is now revealed… THAT THE GENTILES SHOULD BE FELLOW HEIRS [ with the 144,000 of the ‘commonwealth of Israel’], and of the one man and of the same body, AND PARTAKERS OF HIS PROMISE in Christ by THE [ ONE SINGULAR] gospel” (Eph 2:19 and 3:6).

Eph 2:19  Now therefore ye [ Gentile Ephesians] are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

When was this finally revealed to mankind?

Eph 3:5  Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
Eph 3:6  That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

“We [ Gentile Galatians] AS ISAAC are the children of promise” (Gal 4:28). “Jerusalem which now is… answers to Agar [ Not Sarah, as the whole Christian world believes] and is IN BONDAGE WITH HER CHILDREN” (Gal 4:25).
What saith the scripture? Here is what the scriptures say about who the 144,000 are and who they are not. Some Christians actually acknowledge that we Gentiles Christians are “the son of the freewoman.”

Gal 4:30  Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.
Gal 4:31  So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.

But there is not one Christian in 1,000 who will acknowledge that Jerusalem that now is, is “the son of the bondwoman.” and is likened unto Hagar.
“Cast out the bondwoman and her son.” When Paul quotes that verse out of the Old Testament, he is equating “Jerusalem that now is and is in bondage with her children” with Hagar, the bondwoman. Paul deliberately explains himself by continuing to quote: “For the son of the bondwoman [ outward Israel] shall not be heir with the son of the free woman [ Sarah, Gentiles who are “Jews inwardly”].

Here now is the truth. Can we accept The Truth?

WE [ Gentile Galatians] ARE NOT THE CHILDREN OF THE BONDWOMAN, BUT OF THE FREE [ The “bondwoman,” Paul says is those who “are Jews outwardly” (Rom 2:28); “Agar… [ is] Jerusalem which now is and is in bondage with her children” (Gal 4:25); “Which is called the circumcision” (Eph 2:11)], 
The Gentile converts in Christ are the true ‘circumcision’ (Rom 2:29 and Php 3:3), the true ‘Jew’ (Rom 2:28-29), and the true ‘Israel of God’ (Gal 6:15-16)].”
Paul’s statement that there is neither Jew nor Gentile in Christ is not to be understood to mean that there is no Jew, But rather,  “HE IS A JEW WHICH IS ONE INWARDLY” (Rom 2:29). “Circumcision availeth nothing” is not to be understood as there is no circumcision- “WE ARE THE CIRCUMCISION” (Php 3:3). What Paul is saying is what Christ said: “THE FLESH PROFITETH NOTHING… [ and] is but dung” (Joh 6:63; Php 3:7). 12,000 from each tribe is not to be understood as ‘outward’, ‘children of the flesh,’ because we are plainly told “these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the [144,000 – 12,000 from each tribe of Israel] seed.” That is those who are “counted, as opposed to “a great innumerable multitude.”

Rom 9:8  That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these [ are] not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted [144,000] for the seed.

“These are they which… are virgins” (Rev 14:4). Whom do the scriptures reveal these ‘virgins’ signify?

2Co 11:2 I have espoused YOU [ Gentile CORINTHIANS] to one husband that I might PRESENT YOU AS A CHASTE VIRGIN UNTO CHRIST.

What Does 144,000 Symbolize?

To answer this question we need to notice that the scripture declares that ‘God owns the cattle on 1,000 hills’.

Psa 50:10  For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.

Does this verse mean that He therefore does not own the cattle on hill 1001? Is that what the scripture is saying? Of course not. Neither are the “virgin” “first fruits,” limited to exactly a physical count of “144,000.” No, the explanation of these symbolic “… An hundred and forty and four thousand… [ is simply that these were REDEEMED FROM THE EARTH… REDEEMED FROM AMONG MEN, BEING THE FIRSTFRUITS UNTO GOD AND TO THE LAMB”

Rev 14:3  And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred [ and] forty [ and] four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.
Rev 14:4  These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

The 144,000 “were redeemed from the earth… These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.” It is clear from the revelations of Paul that those “IN CHRIST” are the “ONE SEED” to whom “ALL THE PROMISES” apply. So it is apparent that the 144,000 of Rev 7 and 14, and the “one seed” of Gal 3:16 are, in reality, one and the same. They are the “firstfruits.” They are those to whom “ALL THE PROMISES OF GOD IN HIM ARE YEA, AND IN HIM AMEN’, UNTO THE GLORY OF GOD” 
Why 12,000 from each tribe, you ask? Numbers are as symbolic as anything in scripture.  The number twelve symbolizes foundational government, whether of Ishmael, who is the symbol of Abraham’s, ‘after- the- flesh’, firstborn (Gen 25:16 and Gal 4:25), or physical Israel, whose twelve tribes symbolize the true “Israel of God” (Gal 5:15-16 and Gal 4:25-30). In reality, of course, we are told of physical Israel “these are NOT the children of God: but the children of promise are counted for the seed” (Rom 9:8 and Gal 3:16 and 26-29). The apostle Paul is not mentioned among the twelve foundations of “the wall of the city” (Rev 21: 14) simply because, as he himself put it, he was “as one born out of due time” (1Co 15:8), not ‘out of place’. The omission of the name of the apostle Paul in the names of the foundations of the New Jerusalem no more keeps the apostle Paul from being part of that foundation, than the omission of the name of the tribe of Dan keeps that tribe out of “all the tribes of Israel. Twelve is symbolic of  God’s foundational works and the apostle Paul was certainly a part of that foundation, and the tribe of Dan is certainly one of “all the tribes of Israel.

Eph 2:20  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

Read The Spiritual Significance of The Number Twelve on iswasandwillbe. com

When Physical Israel Will Be Saved

Someone is always going to point to Rom 11:29, “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance,” and ask, “How does that verse fit into your replacement theology”? So let’s look at Rom 11 and see what it really says.

Rom 11:24  For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?
Rom 11:25  For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
Rom 11:26  And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
Rom 11:27  For this [ is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.
Rom 11:28  As concerning the gospel, [ they are] enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, [ they are] beloved for the fathers’ sakes.
Rom 11:29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

Doesn’t this verse prove that God will save Israel in spite of the fact that they have rejected him? Indeed it does, but physical Jews apart from Christ, are spiritual Gentiles, and physical Israel is simply typical of us before we came to know and be known of God:

 1Co 10:6 Now these things [ that happened to Israel] became types of us…” ( CLV ).

So when will physical Israel be saved? Will physical Israel rule the nations of the earth during the millennium? Paul speaks of “their [ physical Israel’s] fullness:”

Rom 11:12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness” 

Then in verse 25, he tells us when “their fulness” will be:

Rom 11:25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

It will be AFTER the “fulness of the Gentiles be come in.”

Rom 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

So when will all of this take place? Will it be during the millennium as the orthodox Christian world teaches? We are not left to speculate. We are given the exact time line of these events. If only we would believe God’s plain spiritual words:

Eze 16:55 When thy sisters, Sodom and her daughters, shall return to their former estate, and Samaria and her daughters shall return to their former estate, then thou and thy daughters shall return to your former estate

When will physical Israel be saved?

Eze 16:53 When I shall bring again their captivity, the captivity of Sodom and her daughters, and the captivity of Samaria and her daughters, then will I bring again the captivity of thy captives in the midst of them.

Why does God do this in this manner?

Rom 11:32 For God hath concluded them all[ mankind] in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all[ mankind]”.

So we come now to the function of the 144,000. Here is why they are called ” first fruits.” Here is the reason for their being chosen first.

Rom 11:30  For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:
Rom 11:31  Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
Rom 11:32  For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

Summary

We have seen that “all the tribes of Israel” represent all the tribes of this world, and that those 144,000 out of all the tribes of Israel, are the spiritual symbol of  the few chosen out of the many called. See our study on The Tabernacle, The Court, and The Camp of Israel.
We have seen that “all the promises in Christ are yea” including the promises of the land, which is our bodies. We have seen that names of the twelve tribes are not as spiritually significant as the number twelve is itself , because twelve signifies the foundations of “all the tribes of Israel.” We have seen that there is “singleness that is in Christ,” and in His Israel, and in His seed, and in His promises to His “one seed.” We have seen that the spiritual significance of 144,000 is the few who are numbered as opposed to the “great multitude which no man can number.” We have seen that these 144,000 out of all the tribes of Israel, are all those who are chosen out of all of the world to be Christ’s Christ, who will then be sent by Christ to be “saviors” upon mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau.”

Oba 1:21  And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the LORD’S.

Finally, we actually saw the verses of scripture which reveal when all physical Israel will be saved, and we saw that it would happen  “when Sodom and Samaria” are saved.
Next week, Lord willing, we will take a much closer look at what separates these 144,000 from the “great multitude which no man could number.”

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