American Christian University

Revelation 6:16, 17 They called to the mountains and the rocks, "Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb. 17For the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

We saw from previous verses that everybody would witness the rolling back of the sky and the removal of the mountains and islands. It is such a frightful sight that they call out to the mountains and the rocks to fall on them. They see the terrible judgment that is about to be executed. Their cry is not a cry of repentance, but a cry to escape the wrath of the One sitting on the throne. They admit that the great day of God’s wrath has come; they admit that they cannot stand against that wrath.

It is a classic example of the unrepentant heart of the reprobate, that even in the face of their destruction, they would not plead for mercy, but rather call for the mountains to fall on them.

It is a battle cry of the charismatic movements that all men received the merits of Christ, if they should just choose to receive it. But here we see their unrepentant hearts: while they see their destiny face-to-face they cannot repent. These images that John witnessed parallel with what Jesus said in

Matthew 25:41-46  "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.

44They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ 45He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

It is interesting to note their reply in verse 44. It’s not ‘We are sorry, Lord. Forgive us.’ It’s ‘when did we do what you accuse us of?’ or ‘why are you accusing us falsely?’ ‘Why, Lord, are you lying to everybody?’ We know this because they respond to Jesus’ charges: where did we ‘not help you?’  They know Jesus is the Almighty God, incapable of lying; yet they show no regard.  Jesus responds with ‘I tell you the truth…’ confirming what we deduce from their denial, that they accuse Jesus of falsely charging them.

Now, if the reprobate are incapable of repentance when they face the Lord Almighty, when they are inches from their destruction, and they have but a mere moment to petition one last plight, why do they not repent? Isn’t it, then, crystal clear why Jesus wouldn’t intercede for them in his high priestly prayer? If He wouldn’t intercede for them in prayer, why would we assume that He spilt his blood for them? Why would we believe that Jesus died for all men and the application of his precious sacrifice was left to the fickle heart of men?

No, Jesus died for those whom he knew and loved from before creation. He loved them because they were his brothers and sisters. The others he held back from the tree of life with parables and a flaming sword.

John sees the same thing here where they cry out to the mountains and rocks “Fall on us and hide us from the face of the one who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb.” Truly a fulfillment of what Jesus said in Matthew 25.

The reprobate find it more acceptable to be killed by the mountains and the falling rocks than to face the One on the throne.

Hosea 10:8 The high places of wickedness will be destroyed--it is the sin of Israel. Thorns and thistles will grow up and cover their altars. Then they will say to the mountains, "Cover us!" and to the hills, "Fall on us!”

Psalm 2:9 – 12 You will rule them with an iron scepter; you will dash them to pieces like pottery. 10Therefore, you kings, be wise; be warned, you rulers of the earth. 11Serve the LORD with fear and rejoice with trembling. 12Kiss the Son, lest he be angry and you be destroyed in your way, for his wrath can flare up in a moment. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.

Psalm 14:5 There they are, overwhelmed with dread, for God is present in the company of the righteous.

Psalm 21:9 -12 At the time of your appearing you will make them like a fiery furnace. In his wrath the LORD will swallow them up, and his fire will consume them. 10You will destroy their descendants from the earth, their posterity from mankind. 11Though they plot evil against you and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed. 12For you will make them turn their backs when you aim at them with drawn bow.

Psalm 110:5, 6 The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath. 6He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth.

Jeremiah 8:3 Wherever I banish them, all the survivors of this evil nation will prefer death to life, declares the LORD Almighty.

Matthew 26:64  "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Luke 23:30 Then 'they will say to the mountains, "Fall on us!" and to the hills, "Cover us!"'

II Thessalonians 1:8, 9 He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power.

In verse 16 the reprobate admit that the wrath of the Lamb is at hand, which means that they recognize Jesus as the One who made the sacrifice and they have no part in the merits thereof. One cannot testify that Jesus is the Lamb without also admitting that He was slain; and one cannot admit that he is the slain One without also admitting that his slaughter has produced the merits proclaimed in the gospel. So, they knew not only who Jesus was, as the demon loudly proclaimed in

Matthew 8:29 "What do you want with us, Son of God?" they shouted. "Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”

They also knew his mission and purpose: that He is the Lamb to be slain for the elect. The elect are those who repented, not a single one was plucked out of His hand. They all repented and the reprobate witnessed the repentance of the elect even during their lives on earth; and they did nothing. They witnessed them going to the places of assembly and celebrate the sacraments; and they did nothing. They witnessed the elect overcoming the most heinous of sins and devastating afflictions yet retaining and growing in their faith; and they did nothing. It is no wonder that they did nothing on earth where things were given to all as through a dark mirror because even in the light of the Lord, face-to-face, they did not get it.

It is Jesus who had the authority and power to open the seals containing the will of the Father and execute that will to the letter according to the good pleasure of the Father. Just as Jesus Christ created everything that has ever been created, so does He continue to perfectly execute the will of the Father. And these seals contain the fulfillment of the wrath that God was patiently delaying so that all of the elect can repent and be saved. Jesus created everything; He is also the Judge over everything in this final court drama at the end of time.  “The great day of their wrath has come.”

Matthew 26:64  "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

Acts 17:29 - 31 "Therefore since we are God's offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone--an image made by man's design and skill. 30In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31for he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to all men by raising him from the dead."

II Peter 3:9, 10 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.

Isaiah 2:12 The LORD Almighty has a day in store for all the proud and lofty, for all that is exalted (and they will be humbled).

Isaiah 51:6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look at the earth beneath; the heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth will wear out like a garment and its inhabitants die like flies. But my salvation will last forever, my righteousness will never fail.

Joel 1:15 Alas for that day! For the day of the LORD is near; it will come like destruction from the Almighty.

Joel 2:1  Blow the trumpet in Zion; sound the alarm on my holy hill. Let all who live in the land tremble, for the day of the LORD is coming. It is close at hand.

Amos 9:5 The Lord, the LORD Almighty, he who touches the earth and it melts, and all who live in it mourn--the whole land rises like the Nile, then sinks like the river of Egypt.

Nahum 1:5 The mountains quake before him and the hills melt away. The earth trembles at his presence, the world and all who live in it.

Revelation 7:1  After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth to prevent any wind from blowing on the land or on the sea or on any tree.

After the visions seen in the six seals, revealing the unfolding will of God for the whole earth for all times, these same events are now seen in more detail. That is why the seventh seal leads us into the seven trumpets and the seventh trumpet leads us into the seven scales.

Before we get to the seventh seal, we are shown the ekklesia of Christ, his body, the elect. We see that they are safe and are free to worship God at his throne; they are free to glorify the Father as He intended for them to do from before creation, which is why the Father wrote their names into the book of life, never to blot them out or add to them.  This is the testimony that the elect have been safely brought forth from the cesspool of death, in which all of mankind fell because of our First Parents’ sin in the Garden. This is the testimony that the covenant of grace, given to Adam and Eve when they were driven from Eden, was fulfilled and that not a single one was lost.

[1]Now that we are between the sixth and seventh seals John receives a double vision of the protected and triumphant followers of Christ. This interlude, like the visions that separate the sixth trumpet from the seventh in Revelation 10 and 11, serves two purposes. First, the interlude visions reassure the church that the woes inflicted by the wrath of the Lamb on rebellious humanity cannot sever us from his protective care. Second, the interludes dramatize the delay of final judgment, which evoked the martyrs’ lament in Revelation 6:10.  Those who hear Revelation read aloud experience delay and suspense in the unfolding of the drama.

In the first of the twin visions that interrupt the seal cycle, John sees four angels at the earth’s four corners.

Isaiah 11:12 He will raise a banner for the nations and gather the exiles of Israel; he will assemble the scattered people of Judah from the four quarters of the earth.

Ezekiel 7:2, 3 "Son of man, this is what the Sovereign LORD says to the land of Israel: The end! The end has come upon the four corners of the land. 3The end is now upon you and I will unleash my anger against you. I will judge you according to your conduct and repay you for all your detestable practices.

These angels restrain and control the four winds from wreaking destruction on earth, sea, and trees, until another angel marks each of God’s servants as his property with his seal upon their foreheads.

Each angel has control over a wind, just as there is an angel that has power over fire “another angel, who had charge of the fire” (Rev 14:18), and another over the waters “Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say” (Rev 16:5), and another over the abyss, “They had as king over them the angel of the Abyss” (Rev 9:11).

This imagery reminds us of

Zechariah 6:5 The angel answered me, "These are the four spirits of heaven, going out from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole world."

These winds are winds of destruction and these angels restrain them to prevent destruction on earth so that a calm came over the earth.

Jeremiah 49:36 I will bring against Elam the four winds from the four quarters of the heavens; I will scatter them to the four winds, and there will not be a nation where Elam's exiles do not go.

Daniel 7:2  Daniel said: "In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea.”

The scene takes us back to a time prior to the events of the sixth seal, which showed the destruction of the universe through earthquakes and falling stars. No harm will come to earth, sea or trees until after God’s servants are sealed. Note that the order of the visions does not reflect the chronology of the events that they symbolize.

Revelation 7:2 Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea.

This angel comes from the east because the rising sun is expected from there, which symbolizes the Christ and the imagery depicts it as the approaching light as at dawn. 

It also symbolizes the destination of the elect, namely, the Garden of Eden, which was founded in the ‘east’.

Genesis 2:8  Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.

It is also on the east side, the salvation side, of the Garden where God placed cherubim with a flaming sword guarding the way to the tree of life.

Genesis 3:24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life.

Rising in the east is the light of life, Jesus Christ.

John 8:12  When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Psalm 97:11 Light is shed upon the righteous and joy on the upright in heart.

Isaiah 9:2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

Isaiah 49:6 He says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”

Isaiah 60:1  "Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.”

Hosea 6:3 Let us acknowledge the LORD; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.

Malachi 4:2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.

Matthew 4:16 The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

Luke 1:78, 79 Because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.

Luke 2:32 A light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.

John 1:4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

John 9:5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.

John 12:35, 46 Then Jesus told them, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. 46I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”

Acts 26:23 That the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles.

Revelation 7:2 Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea.

This angel has the seal of the living God, making this the seal of the Father and the Lamb. The elect receive a seal from God marking them as His, to be placed on their foreheads, as we shall see later. By receiving this seal they are not protected from calamity and affliction, but they receive eternal protection from God and the comfort that they are forever safe in the right hand of the Father.

Song of Solomon 8:6 Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.

Ephesians 1:13, 14 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit. 14Who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 4:30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.

Romans 8:15 For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father.”

II Corinthians 1:22 Set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.

II Corinthians 5:5 Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come

II Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless, God's solid foundation stands firm, sealed with this inscription: "The Lord knows those who are his," and, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness."

God is often referred to as the ‘living’ God.

Matthew 16:15, 16  "But what about you?" he asked. "Who do you say I am?” 16Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”

Matthew 26:63, 64 But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” 64"Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Romans 9:26 And, "It will happen that in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' they will be called 'sons of the living God.'”

Hebrews 3:12  See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.

Hebrews 9:14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God.

Hebrews 10:31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Hebrews 12:22 - 24 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

Revelation 7:2 Then I saw another angel coming up from the east, having the seal of the living God. He called out in a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm the land and the sea.

The angels restraining the four winds of destruction are under the command of angel from the east carrying the seventh seal of God and in verse 3 we will see that they are ordered to keep the winds from harming anything.

Revelation 7:3 "Do not harm the land or the sea or the trees until we put a seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.”

The original text rather suggests that the angel instructs the four angels not to commence harming the earth.  The seal on the servants of God will set them apart from others so that when the winds of destruction are let loose they will not be harmed.

Revelation 7:4 – 8 Then I heard the number of those who were sealed: 144,000 from all the tribes of Israel. 5From the tribe of Judah 12,000 were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben 12,000, from the tribe of Gad 12,000; 6From the tribe of Asher 12,000, from the tribe of Naphtali 12,000, from the tribe of Manasseh 12,000; 7From the tribe of Simeon 12,000, from the tribe of Levi 12,000, from the tribe of Issachar 12,000 8From the tribe of Zebulun 12,000, from the tribe of Joseph 12,000, from the tribe of Benjamin 12,000.

Jesus promised in Revelation 3:12 to write his name on the victors, which happens now. The 144,000 is a symbolic number indicating all of the elect, a complete number of all those who receive the seal.

Who are these 144,000 who receive God’s seal, whose safety from wrath is secured by the name of the Lamb and his Father?  Since they are described as belonging to the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel, twelve thousand from each tribe, it is widely believed that this group represents a Jewish remnant, converted to faith in Jesus the Messiah by the rapture of the church prior to the tribulation. According to this view Gentile believers in Jesus will not go through this tribulation and consequently only these faithful Israelites need God’s protective seal. As appealing as this view may be to those who do not relish suffering for the faith, it faces all sorts of difficulties from the text of Scripture.

1.     The list of the twelve tribes corresponds to none of the ways that the twelve tribes were reckoned in the Old Testament. If we think of the twelve sons of Jacob, interesting to note the presence of Manasseh, Jacob’s grandson, and the absence of Dan. If we think of the twelve tribes who inherited the land, we cannot explain why Joseph appears along with his son Manasseh, but not Ephraim and why Levi appears, since his tribe did not receive an apportioned territory – the Lord was Levi’s inheritance. Also, if the tribes were listed according to land inheritance, it would be slightly irregular for Joseph to replace his son Ephraim, as appears to be the case.

2.     The sealing of this 144,000 is identical to the promise that Jesus made to all overcomers from every race in the letter to Philadelphia in

Revelation 3:12 Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.

3.     In John’s later vision of the Lamb’s army on Zion the 144,000 are identified as those ‘purchased’ from the earth, as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. And by his blood the Lamb ‘purchased’ for God individuals from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

This is the ethnic composition of the innumerable multitude that John will see immediately after hearing the census of the tribes of God’s sealed servants. Perhaps their being called the first fruits suggests that these 144,000 are the first installment of a larger harvest, when angels are sent forth to harvest the earth.  In that case the 144,000 symbolize not belated believers from a single ethnic group (the Jews) but the faithful martyrs from all the peoples who through their death are gathered first into God’s presence.

4.     The 144,000 are later portrayed as a holy army composed exclusively of men ‘who have not been defiled with women’. This is symbolic of the church’s spiritual purity, in no way implying that only single, celibate male servants of God receive his seal of protection.

The number 144,000 is composed of components of the number 12, which is 3 x 4: three being the number of the Trinity, and four being the number of the world referring to the four wind directions. We also see the four angels of the seventh seal restraining the four winds on the four corners of the earth. The number 7 is also composed of 3 and 4 indicating a complete number.

The 144,000 can be 12 x 12 x 1,000 or 12 x 12,000.  Number 10 expresses the completeness of God’s actions, such as the ten Commandments, the ten plagues, the ten virgins in the parable, and so on. So, 103 = 1,000 and 104 = 10,000. Coincidence? No, it’s by design that these numbers show forth the symbolic, complete number of the elect because God does not want the elect to be unsure about who they are or doubt their salvation. Seeking a physical connection between these symbols and what we, as finite beings, know, is to seek an idol to which we can cling instead of having childlike trust in the Word of God.

These 144,000 victors represent the complete number of the elect, each one carefully named and recorded in the book of life for this moment where each one of them will receive an eternal name and the name of Christ. This is not just a mass of people, or a nameless crowd. They have been carefully selected before God created the world, destined throughout history to be here at this exact moment: not a single one absent and no one here that does not belong here.

Israel was the name of the blessing that Jacob received and the children of Israel, the blessing, became participants in that blessing.

Genesis 32:28, 29  Then the man said, "Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with men and have overcome.” 29Jacob said, "Please tell me your name." But he replied, "Why do you ask my name?" Then he blessed him there.

In Christ the blessing is not restricted to the physical descendents of Jacob, but it is promised to the spiritual descendents of the blessing, namely, Israel. Therefore, the mention of the tribes of Israel here is a sure sign that the blessing has been poured out on the elect among all nations, and not on the physical descendents of Jacob.

Galatians 3:14 – 16 He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. 15Brothers, let me take an example from everyday life. Just as no one can set aside or add to a human covenant that has been duly established, so it is in this case.  16The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. The Scripture does not say "and to seeds," meaning many people, but "and to your seed," meaning one person, who is Christ.

Isaiah 41:8, 9 "But you, O Israel, my servant, Jacob, whom I have chosen, you descendants of Abraham my friend. 9I took you from the ends of the earth, from its farthest corners I called you. I said, 'You are my servant'; I have chosen you and have not rejected you.

Isaiah 44:3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants.

Isaiah 49:6 He says: "It is too small a thing for you to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back those of Israel I have kept. I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth.”

Ezekiel 36:26, 27 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh, 27and I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.

Acts 2:39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call.

Romans 10:10 – 13 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11As the Scripture says, "Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.” 12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him. 13For, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

The Israelites shown here to John is the body of Christ, his church, which he has gathered from the four corners of the earth, through the gospel.

Romans 2:28, 29  A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God.

Galatians 3:26 - 29  You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Galatians 6:15, 16 Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is a new creation. 16Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God.

Philippians 3:3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh.

We may note the following about the tribes mentioned in the group of 144,000. Here are some comments about some of the tribes.


Judah is mentioned first, because of the promise that the Messiah would come forth from the tribe of Judah.

Genesis 49:10, 11 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his. 11He will tether his donkey to a vine, his colt to the choicest branch; he will wash his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes.

This indicates that Judah’s position as first on the list of tribes has to do with the salvation of the elect.


Manasseh was put second by the blessing of Jacob but now he has been restored again.

Genesis 48:17 - 20 When Joseph saw his father placing his right hand on Ephraim's head he was displeased; so he took hold of his father's hand to move it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's head. 18Joseph said to him, "No, my father, this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.” 19But his father refused and said, "I know, my son, I know. He too will become a people, and he too will become great. Nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his descendants will become a group of nations.” 20He blessed them that day and said, "In your name will Israel pronounce this blessing: 'May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh.'" So he put Ephraim ahead of Manasseh.


Joseph takes the place of his son Ephraim because of Ephraim rose up against the house of David.

Psalm 78:9, 10, 67 The men of Ephraim, though armed with bows, turned back on the day of battle. 10They did not keep God's covenant and refused to live by his law. 67Then he rejected the tents of Joseph, he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim.


Levi’s tribe, who had the privilege of the priestly duties, enjoyed no preference indicating that in God’s mercy and grace there is no preference and one cannot claim preference from God based upon things outside the scope of Christ’s merits.


Benjamin was, together with Judah, loyal to God and is mentioned last as if the two of them are posted at the beginning and end of the rest of the ‘ten lost tribes’ so that they too may enjoy the blessings that the first and the last received.

The name of Dan is absent because of his idolatry.

Judges 18:30, 31 There the Danites set up for themselves the idols, and Jonathan son of Gershom, the son of Moses, and his sons were priests for the tribe of Dan until the time of the captivity of the land. 31They continued to use the idols Micah had made, all the time the house of God was in Shiloh.

I Kings 12:28 - 30 After seeking advice, the king made two golden calves. He said to the people, "It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem. Here are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.” 29One he set up in Bethel, and the other in Dan. 30And this thing became a sin; the people went even as far as Dan to worship the one there.

Out of all the tribes, that is, all of mankind, God gathered for himself a people, selected for himself an ekklesia to worship and glorify him. He wrote their names in the book of life before He created the earth and purposed it so that they would be standing here before him clothed in the blood and glory of the Lamb, his Son Jesus Christ.

Luke 12:32 - 40 "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. 33Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. 34For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

35"Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning 36like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. 40You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

[1] Reworked from Triumph of the Lamb, by Dennis E. Johnson.