In Revelation 7, there is no mention of the tribe of Dan, but the other tribes are listed. Why? Was the tribe of Dan cut off?
This is an interesting question! If my memory is correct, there is a movement that focuses on re-finding the history of that lost tribe. They trace the tribe of Dan to South America and across North America, to the East Coast, where they disappeared for many years and all that was left were some strange mounds of dirt.
The very fact that such ideas can originate warns us that it is dangerous to “surmise” on what God has not revealed in His Word. So, lets begin with this truth. God hasn’t told us why the tribe of Dan is not listed in the book of Revelation. Any conjecturing that we do must always end with just that – conjecture, hunches, man’s ideas about the mysteries of God.
Conjecture one – Maybe the tribe of Dan is not mentioned because they became so involved in idolatry (Judges 18:30-31). The Lord hates idolatry, and this was the very thing that led God to give up on the early inhabitants of the “promised land” given to Israel. The Lord warned Israel that they were not to study or practice any of the pagan rites of the heathen nations that were overthrown by God to make way for the Children of Israel to become a nation (Exodus 23:31-33, Leviticus 18:1-5 & verses 24-30). Every thing connected with idolatry was to be burned or put to death as they entered the land to possess it (Deuteronomy 7:1-6 & Joshua 6:15-21).
Conjecture two – It is highly unlikely that everyone from the tribe of Dan will be lost just because they're not mentioned in this list. Even Dan himself was converted and followed the Lord. All the sons of Jacob became honest, caring men by the time they went down into Egypt. It is possible that the tribes listed in Revelation represent “character traits” that will be found in saved people or a special group of people living right before Jesus returns. If this is true, then we are dealing with symbolism rather than a literal translation. Since the book of Revelation is full of symbolic meanings, this could definitely be the answer.
As you study this topic, one important detail to note is that the reference in Revelation chapter 7 to the twelve tribes is talking about those who are part of 144,000 (Revelation 7:4). When you read Revelation 14:1-5, you notice that this special number of redeemed have never defiled themselves with women – that is, they are virgins or chaste. Never has God given a command that “man”, in order to follow the Lord, should be celibate or remain unmarried. Even Paul realized that very few men could successfully be 100% engaged in the work of the Lord and not “burn” after sexual relationships. He encouraged both men and women to marry rather than to engage in adultery or wish they could have a spouse (1 Corinthians 7:8-9). Therefore, it would be reasonable to assume that the reference here to “virgins” is symbolic of a “pure”, “holy” people; Those who have not committed “adultery” with the “world”. They have remained faithful to Jesus and have not gone after other false gods. They are called virgins because of their true religion, or faith.
So we can see the symbolism that's connected with the 144,000 and the twelve tribes mentioned in the book of Revelation. This leads us to believe that this reference to the "tribes of the children of Israel" (Revelation 7:4) is also meant to be interpreted in a symbolic way.
For the remainder of this article. we would like to quote from a very fascinating article called "Who Are the 144,000" by Doug Batchelor:
several reasons why the tribes mentioned in
Revelation chapter 7
can't possibly be literal Israelite tribes. The Old Testament reveals that
10 of the 12 tribes were carried away by the Assyrians in 722 B.C.
"In the ninth year of Hoshea, the
king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and
placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities
of the Medes." (2 Kings 17:6)
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