Thursday, 10 December 2020
of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand were sealed; Revelation 7:7
The list of the descendants of Israel who are sealed continues in this verse, starting with, “of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand were sealed.”
Simeon was the second son of Israel’s wife, Leah. His name means “Heard.”
Next, John says, “of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand were sealed.”
Levi is the third son of Leah. His name means “Attached.”
John next continues with, “of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand were sealed.”
Issachar means “Wages.”
An interesting note concerning this verse is the mentioning of Levi. Under the Law of Moses, the Old Covenant, Levi had no inheritance of land because they were the priests. Because of this, they were given cities within the land areas of the other tribes. But here in Revelation, they are sealed among the other tribes.
This means that one tribe, Dan, is left out of these verses. What this appears to indicate is that Levi is to no longer be singled out as a priestly class. Instead, it is on the same level as the other tribes. And considering the tenets of the New Covenant, this makes complete sense. Here are the blessings of these sons by Israel from Genesis 49 –
“Simeon and Levi are brothers;
Instruments of cruelty are in their dwelling place.
6 Let not my soul enter their council;
Let not my honor be united to their assembly;
For in their anger they slew a man,
And in their self-will they hamstrung an ox.
7 Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce;
And their wrath, for it is cruel!
I will divide them in Jacob
And scatter them in Israel.” Genesis 49:5-7
“Issachar is a strong donkey,
Lying down between two burdens;
15 He saw that rest was good,
And that the land was pleasant;
He bowed his shoulder to bear a burden,
And became a band of slaves.” Genesis 49:14, 15
Israel noted that Simeon and Levi would be divided in Israel and this is what happened. Levi, as the priestly class, was disbursed among the tribes and Simeon received its land within the borders of Judah. The tribe not sealed in Revelation, Dan, never claimed its intended property inheritance (Joshua 19:40-48) when it was allotted. This may be why they aren’t mentioned here, but the variety of speculation on this goes on and on.
Life application: It has been noted that the listing of these twelve tribes in Revelation 7 is complicated, and the speculation on why they are listed as they are is extensive. What should not be in doubt, however, is that these are actual tribes of the people of Israel. They are not allegorical divisions of the church. Nor do they validate nutty cults who make ludicrous claims that they are the fulfillment of these divine promises.
The Lord faithfully promised to preserve Israel, and He has. He has promised that they, as a nation, will enter into the New Covenant. He has even said explicitly when this will happen in Luke 13:35. His unfailing faithfulness to this unfaithful group of people is because He has covenanted with them. In the New Covenant, believers are given the promise of eternal salvation. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit as a guarantee.
If you are struggling with the Lord’s faithfulness to you because you have committed some great and terrible sin, all you need to do is come back and look at Israel. They remain a people despite themselves, and you will remain saved despite your own failings. Just be sure to ignore any pastor, preacher, or teacher who says you can lose your salvation. That person does not understand what the word “grace” means. Cling to the unmerited favor you have been granted, and trust in the faithfulness of God in Christ to carry you through to His place of promised rest.
Lord, it is so precious to look into Your word and to contemplate the reasons for the mysteries it holds. Open our eyes and our understanding to ensure that what we conclude is proper and aligned with Your intent. Let us not deviate from sound and reasonable explanations of these hidden treasures. Thank You for Your precious word! Amen.