Revelation 7 (The Intermission)

4 angels of revelation7-6Between Revelation chapters 6 and 8 there is an intermission, a pause before the judgments of the 7th seal begin. The four angels who are about to harm the earth and the sea are restrained –

“After these things I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, on the sea, or on any tree. Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, “Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.” – Rev. 71-3

Before God unleashes these judgments on he earth He seals His servants on earth. There are 144,000 of them from the 12 tribes of Israel. A strange fact is however that Manasseh and Joseph are listed but the tribe of Dan is missing. Joseph had two sons who became tribes, Manasseh and Ephraim so why are the tribes of Dan and Ephraim missing?

jeroboam golden calf“The most common reasoning is that both Dan and Ephraim were centers of idolatry in the Northern Kingdom. The tribes were guilty of allowing Jeroboam to set up golden calves, as gods to be worshiped.  One was set up in Bethel in the territory of Ephraim and another in Dan. (1 Kings 12:25-30).

Scripture declares –

“Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.” – Hosea 4:17

“They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, Thy god, O Dan, liveth; and, The manner of Beersheba liveth; even they shall fall, and never rise up again.” – Amos 8:14

“Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations…The LORD will not spare him…And the LORD shall separate him unto evil out of all the tribes of Israel…” – Deuteronomy 29:182021 

It seems reasonable that the omission of Dan, and the addition of Manasseh as opposed to Ephraim, was because of idolatry.  However, remember that we cannot know this for certain.  The Bible does not give an explicit answer.

Note also that the list in Revelation 7 does not follow the birth order.  I propose for your consideration a “remez” that offers another possible reason for the variation in tribes and the order of the names.  What’s a remez?  In Jewish hermeneutics (Scripture interpretation), a remez is a hidden message or a deeper meaning that is below the surface or behind the words. Let’s look at the message that can be found in Revelation 7.

In ancient times, the names given to children had significant meaning.  In Genesis we find the meanings of the names listed in Revelation 7:7-8.  In birth order they are:

Genesis 29:32-  Reuben: “surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.”
Genesis 29:33- Simeon: “because the LORD hath heard… he hath therefore given me this son…”
Genesis 29:34- Levi: “now this time will my husband be joined unto me”  (It should be noted that God is called Israel’s husband in  Isa 54:5 )
Genesis 29:35- Judah: “now will I praise the LORD”
Genesis 30:8-  Naphtali: “with great wrestlings…I have prevailed.”
Genesis 30:11- Gad: “a troop cometh” [Gad in Hebrew means “good fortune”]
Genesis 30:13- Asher:  “happy am I, call me blessed”
Genesis 30:18- Issachar:  “God hath given me my hire” [Hebrew sakar – wages, compensation, reward]
Genesis 30:20- Zebulun“now will my husband dwell with me”
Genesis 30:24- Joseph: “the LORD shall add”
Genesis 35:18- Benjamin: “the Son of the right hand”
Genesis 41:51- Manasseh: “for God hath made me forget all my toil.”

Let’s now rearrange the names in the order in which they are listed in Revelation 7:7-8 with the meaning next to each:

Judah:  Praise the Lord,
Reuben:  He has looked on my affliction
Gad:  good fortune comes
Asher:  happy and blessed am I
Napthali:  my wrestling
Manasseh:  has made me forget my sorrow
Simeon:  God hears me
Levi:  has joined me
Issachar:  rewarded me
Zebulun:  exalted me
Joseph:  adding to me
Benjamin: the Son of His right hand.

Now let’s string together the meaning of the names and read the message:

Praise the Lord.  He has looked on my affliction [and] good fortune comes.  Happy and blessed am I.  My wrestling has made me forget my sorrow.  God hears me, has joined me, rewarded me, exalted me [by] adding to me the Son of His right hand.

If the tribe of Dan had been included or Ephraim added instead of Manasseh, or if the tribes had been listed in birth order, this message would not have been the same.

Perhaps this message is another reason Dan was omitted and Manasseh was included. Note that I said perhaps.  Always remember, this is only reasoning.  We simply do not know the answer, because the Bible does not directly record it.  There’s definitely a message found in the passage.  Another proof of the divine Author of the Bible.”

(Information taken from reasonsforhopejesus.com)

Some have proposed that Dan is missing because the Antichrist comes out of Dan because when Jacob blessed Dan he said “Dan shall be a serpent by the way” (Gen. 49:17), but this is only part of the blessing. I see no evidence that the Antichrist comes out of Dan in the Bible. And Ezekiel 48 includes Dan in the allotment of land given to Israel in the millennial kingdom. I think that it is likely that a Hebrew remez is being used here.

Revelation 12 describes a time when the Antichrist attacks Israel and Israel flees into the wilderness on the wings of a great eagle into a place prepared for her by God. Micah and Isaiah describe this –

“I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob, I will surely gather the remnant of Israel; I will put them together like sheep of the fold, Like a flock in the midst of their pasture; They shall make a loud noise because of so many people. The one who breaks open will come up before them; They will break out, Pass through the gate, And go out by it; Their king will pass before them, With the LORD at their head.” – Micah 2:12,13

“The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, It is made overflowing with fatness, With the blood of lambs and goats, With the fat of the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah, And a great slaughter in the land of Edom. … For it is the day of the LORD’s vengeance, The year of recompense for the cause of Zion.” – Isa. 34:6,8

The place in the wilderness is Bozrah, which means “sheepfold”. In Revelation 19 when the Lord rides out of heaven on a white horse, His robe is dipped in blood because He has visited the land of Edom to Bozrah to deliver His people Israel from their place of safety in the wilderness. Then Israel will sing this song found in Revelation 7 –

Praise the Lord.  He has looked on my affliction [and] good fortune comes.  Happy and blessed am I.  My wrestling has made me forget my sorrow.  God hears me, has joined me, rewarded me, exalted me [by] adding to me the Son of His right hand.

After this, John looked and saw a great multitude which no one could number standing before the throne and before the Lamb –

“and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” – Rev. 7:10

When John asked who these were the elder told him –

“So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” – Rev. 7:14

It seems to me that this is describing the very end of the great tribulation period. In chapter 8 of Revelation we have the breaking of the 7th Seal and the opening of the pouring out of the wrath of God on the earth. The bottomless pit is opened and it’s demons were released to torment men but, they could not harm those who have the seal of God on their foreheads. (The resurrection and the rapture have not yet happened.) The four angels who were bound at the River Euphrates were released and they bring an army of 200 million to kill one third of men. John is told he must prophesy again to many peoples, nation, tongues, and kings and then he measures the Temple and it’s court which was given to the Gentiles for 42 months (3½ years). The two witnesses prophesy in Jerusalem during this time until they are killed by the Antichrist but, they are resurrected after 3½ days and ascend into heaven. Then comes God’s final judgment on the earth and the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of the Lord and of His Christ. Then the Temple of God is opened in heaven and the Ark of the Covenant is seen in His Temple.

I believe beginning in chapter 12 we have a folding back on the narrative given in chapters 5-11, giving us more detail of the happenings described. In this ‘folding back’ we have the Antichrist and the False Prophet revealed and the Battle of Armageddon. We also see the final judgment on Mystery Babylon.

But that is just my humble opinion.

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