Wednesday, 9 December 2020
of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand were sealed; Revelation 7:6
The listing of the servants of God in relation to who their tribe is continues in this verse, beginning with John saying, “of the tribe of Asher twelve thousand were sealed.”
Asher was the second son born to Leah’s handmaid Zilpah. His name means “Happy.”
Next, John says, “of the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand were sealed.”
Naphtali was the second son of Rachel’s handmaid Bilhah. His name means “My Wrestling.”
The verse then finishes with, “of the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand were sealed.”
Manasseh was the firstborn son of Joseph, Rachel’s oldest son. His name means “Forgetting.”
When Israel moved to Egypt, he took Joseph’s two sons for his own, to be counted as a part of his clan. By doing this, they were elevated to the same level as his eleven other sons and this meant that the double portion which came with the birthright was given to Joseph. Although this may be a bit confusing, it was a way for Israel to honor Joseph. The blessings bestowed upon these three by Israel are:
To Asher –
“Bread from Asher shall be rich,
And he shall yield royal dainties.” Genesis 49:20
To Naphtali –
“Naphtali is a deer let loose;
He uses beautiful words.” Genesis 49:21
To Manasseh (and his brother Ephraim) –
“God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked,
The God who has fed me all my life long to this day,
16 The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil,
Bless the lads;
Let my name be named upon them,
And the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac;
And let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” Genesis 48:15, 16
Life application: The two sons of Joseph were elevated to the same status among Israel as the sons of Jacob, thus being entitled to the status as tribes of Israel. They had done nothing to merit this, but Jacob decided it would be so. And more, Jacob knowingly guided his hands in order to place his right hand upon the younger brother, Ephraim, elevating him above his brother Manasseh. And yet, it is Manasseh who is named in Revelation as a tribe, and Joseph stands in place of Ephraim.
In each of these actions, the sons received what they were given apart from any merit. Thus, what they received was grace. It is important for us to remember that Christ Jesus died for us while we were sinners. We had done nothing to merit the favor of God in Christ, and yet we – through a simple act of faith – are brought into the family of God and are made sons in His family. In fact, Scripture tells us that we are made “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ” in this relationship (Romans 8:17).
Such is the nature of God’s wonderful hand of grace. Believe the gospel, trust that it is sufficient to save your soul with an eternal salvation, and then be sure to contemplate the love of God in Christ. He is the Heir of all things and He has offered to share that with His people. Great and glorious is He. He is JESUS!
Lord, it is so wonderful to see how You have worked through real people in human history to unfold Your beautiful plan of redemption. Use each of us also, Lord, in the way that will bring You the most honor and glory. We thank You that we can be a small part of Your loving work in and through the people of the world. Amen.