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Published
19 Jan 2012 23:23
Author
Mikkel Stjernholm Kragh

In the book of Revelation there is spoken of 144,000 males of all the tribes of Israel. The tribe of Dan is the only of the 12 tribes which is not mentioned. Why is Dan not mentioned?

We read about the 144,000 in Revelation chapter 7:

(v. 3) Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.

(v. 4) And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.

(v. 5) Of the tribe of Judah were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad were sealed twelve thousand.

(v. 6) Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephtalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.

(v. 7) Of the tribe of Simeon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Levi were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Issachar were sealed twelve thousand.

(v. 8) Of the tribe of Zabulon were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin were sealed twelve thousand.” (Revelation 7:3-8)

 

There is a reason why Dan’s name is omitted in Revelation

Some clues as to why Dan’s name is omitted in Revelation are found in the fact that there are some things in Genesis and Revelation which are inverse.

The books of Genesis and Revelation are in themselves inverse because they are the first and last books of the Holy Writ. The first chapters of Genesis describe the world in its sinless state and the tragic fall of man which results in all the misery which has been going on since then. The last chapters of Revelation are the inverse, because they are the story of how Paradise finally is going to be restored.

 

Genesis & Revelation: Inverse example no. 1

In Genesis, Dan’s name is the first of the 12 patriarchs’ names to be mentioned - three generations and app. 164 years before Dan the patriarch was actually born! After the four kings had spoiled Sodom and Gomorrah and taken Lot captive, it is written:

“And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.” (Genesis 14:14)

The inverse to this is found in Revelation, where Dan’s name is the only one of the 12 tribes’ names not to be mentioned.

Dan is the only one of the 12 tribes not to be mentioned by name in the New Testament, despite the fact that even the Danite judge Samson is mentioned by name (in Hebrews 11:32, in the “Hall of Faith”).

We can therefore conclude that Dan is in Revelation, but is not mentioned by name.

In Genesis 14:14, Dan is mentioned, but is not there.

In Revelation’s 144,000, Dan is not mentioned, but is there.

 

Genesis & Revelation: Inverse example no. 2

In Genesis chap. 3 it was the Serpent who caused Eve, and thereby also Adam, to sin, and the Serpent was thus cursed: “upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life” (Gen. 3:14). In Revelation, Dan’s name is not mentioned, and one of Dan’s primary characteristics is being as a serpent:

”Dan shall be a serpent by the way, and adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.” (Genesis 49:17)

 

Genesis & Revelation: Inverse example no. 3

Adam and Eve’s sin was obviously of a sexual nature. After their having sinned ”they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” (Gen. 3:7) And afterward, they began having children. Before the sin we must assume that Adam did not know Eve carnally.

The inverse to this is found in Revelation, where the 144,000 Israelites are specifically mentioned as ”they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins.” (Rev. 14:4) The 144,000 who are going to be co-rulers with Christ are the counterpart to Adam of old before the Fall of Man.

 

There are 12,000 Danites among the 144,000!

Among the sealed 144,000 Israelites in Revelation chap. 7 there are 12,000 Danites. The 12,000 Danites are the ones ”Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.” (Rev. 7:6) The Scripture does say Manasses (Manasseh) here, even though those 12,000 are of the tribe of Dan. It is not a typo.

In the listing of the 144,000 the 12 tribes are not mentioned in exactly the same order in which the 12 patriarchs were born. But there is still much order in the way they are listed.

The last four listed (Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin, v. 7-8) are also the four last born patriarchs. They are listed in the correct order.

Simeon and Levi are listed together (v. 7).

Three of the sons of the concubines are listed together (Gad, Asher, and Naphtali, v. 5-6).

Dan’s name is not listed, but if Dan’s name was to be listed, it would either be together with Naphtali and Asher (cf. Num 1:38-43, 7:66-83, etc.) or together with Joseph and Benjamin (cf. 1 Chron 2:2, Eze. 48:32, etc.), because they are the two groups of tribes with which Dan is listed in the rest of the Scriptures.

Looking at the listing of the 12 tribes in Revelation chap. 7 and comparing it with other listings of the tribes in the Scriptures, Manasseh is completely out of place. Both in the order of listing, because he should have been listed along with Benjamin, and also because Joseph is listed separately in verse 8. (Joseph became two tribes through his sons Manasseh and Ephraim.)

Furthermore, in Revelation 7 the 12 tribes are listed in verses of three tribes each. Manasseh is together with Asher and Naphtali, two tribes which Manasseh never is listed together with. Dan is, on the other hand, very often listed together with Asher and Naphtali.

We must therefore conclude that the 12,000 listed as the tribe of Manasseh are actually Danites. (Some in the early Christian church also came to this conclusion.[i])

Below: Order of listing of the 12 tribes and patriarchs

Revelation 7:5-8

Genesis 29,30 & 35

Numbers 1:20-43

Numbers 7

1 Chronicles 2:1-2

Ezekiel 48:1-29

Ezekiel 48:30-35

Judah

Reuben

Reuben

Judah

Reuben

Dan

Reuben

Reuben

Simeon

Simeon

Issachar

Simeon

Asher

Judah

Gad

Levi

Gad

Zebulun

Levi

Naphtali

Levi

Asher

Judah

Judah

Reuben

Judah

Manasseh

Joseph

Naphtali

Dan

Issachar

Simeon

Issachar

Ephraim

Benjamin

Manasseh

Naphtali

Zebulun

Gad

Zebulun

Reuben

Dan

Simeon

Gad

Ephraim

Ephraim

Dan

Judah

Simeon

Levi

Asher

Manasseh

Manasseh

Joseph

Benjamin

Issachar

Issachar

Issachar

Benjamin

Benjamin

Benjamin

Simeon

Zebulun

Zebulun

Zebulun

Dan

Dan

Naphtali

Issachar

Gad

Joseph

Joseph

Asher

Asher

Gad

Zebulun

Asher

Benjamin

Benjamin

Naphtali

Naphtali

Asher

Gad

Naphtali

 

Two theories as to why the 12,000 Danites are listed as Manasseh

Why are the 12,000 Danites in Revelation then mentioned under Manasseh’s name? We can come up with two theories:

  • ·         The tribe of Dan in particular is going to commit some future sin.
  • ·         The name of the future Beast will be “Dan” and the name Dan will thereby become unholy. The 12,000 Danites can therefore not use their tribal name without taking “the name of the Beast” (Rev. 13:17).

Remember Shakespeare’s words from Romeo and Juliet:

”What’s in a name? That which we call a rose

By any other word would smell as sweet.”[ii]

 

Theory no. 1: Is the tribe of Dan in particular going to commit a sin?

Theory no. 1 is that the tribe of Dan collectively is going to commit some future sin and this is the reason why Dan is not mentioned among the 144,000 Israelites. The Church fathers Irenaeus (2nd cent.-c. 202 AD) and Hippolytus (c. 170- c. 236 AD) thus believed that a personal future Antichrist would be of the tribe of Dan.[iii]

If the tribe of Dan collectively is going to commit some particular sin or in particular is going follow the Antichrist, the 12,000 Danites listed as Manasseh could be holy Danites who have distanced themselves from their tribe, or have been estranged, and therefore call themselves Manassites.

This theory, however, is unlikely and does not make sense, because in Revelation it is clear that people of all the nations of the world, and not just the tribe of Dan, are going to follow the Beast.

 

Theory no. 2: Will the name of the Beast will be Dan?

Theory no. 2 is that the name of the Beast is going to be “Dan”. If that is the case, the 12,000 Danites cannot go under their tribal name Dan without “taking the name of the Beast”, which is going to be the ultimate sin during the reign of the future Beast:

“And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” (Revelation 13:16-17)

This theory, however, is both possible and logic. It makes sense.

 

The distinguished tribe of Dan

The tribe of Dan was not as idolatrous as some people claim. Dan was on the other hand instrumental in building the Ark of the Covenant and King Solomon’s Temple.

The tribe of Dan was not the first tribe to fall into idolatry, as some claim by referring to the graven image which Danites set up in their new northern territory mentioned in Judges 18:30 (early 12th century BC). Already in Judges chap. 2 it is written that the Israelites in general followed Baal and Ashtaroth (Judges 2:11, 13, 19) (late 13th century BC).

Hippolytus’ claim that the Antichrist would be of the tribe of Dan was based on both Judah and Dan being called “lion whelps” (in Gen. 49:9 and Deut. 33:22, respectively). Hippolytus therefore claimed that “For as Christ springs from the tribe of Judah, so Antichrist is to spring from the tribe of Dan.”[iv] However, that is not a good argument, because under the Old Covenant men of Judah and Dan worked together, and not against each other, both in building the Ark of the Covenant and King Solomon’s Temple, two of the most sacred works of the Old Covenant.

The two artisans whom God filled with His Spirit so they could make the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant were Bezaleel of the tribe of Judah and his assistant Aholiab of the tribe of Dan (Ex 31:1-6 & 35:30-35). King Solomon was of the tribe of Judah, and the chief artisan who built King Solomon’s Temple was Huram-Abi, the son of a Danite mother and a Tyrian father (2 Chron 2:13-14).

The tribe of Dan was the first of the tribes to leave the land of Israel, but it was not because they worshipped idols and God therefore let them be deported, as it later was the case with most of the other tribes. The remaining Danites emigrated because they did not want to fight against Judah, as Eldad Ha-Dani, a Jewish traveler from the 9th or 14th century AD, writes:

“In Jeroboam’s day, 975 B.C., Dan refused to shed his brother’s blood; and rather than go to war with Judah he left the country and went in one body to Greece (Javan) and to Danmark.”[v]

 

Conclusion

We can therefore conclude that there are 12,000 Danites among the 144,000 sealed Israelites in Revelation, and that they are the ones listed under the tribe of Manasseh. The most probable reason for this is that the name of the future Beast will be Dan, and that the 12,000 Danites cannot go under their tribal name without taking the name of the Beast and thereby sin. Therefore they go under the name Manasseh.

 

June 2010


 

[i] In Understanding Dan: An Exegetical Study of a City, Tribe and Ancestor, the American Lutheran-Evangelical theologian Mark W. Bartusch writes: “According to the critical apparatus in Nestle-Aland, Dan appears in the place of Gad in the eleventh-century manuscript 1854, as well as in a few other manuscripts. The Bohairic Version (Coptic) substitutes Dan for Manasseh. Thus, it seems clear that some in the early Christian community recognized the omission of Dan from and the most unusual addition of Manasseh to this list of the tribes of Israel and sought to correct the text. It is interesting to observe that in the Testament of Judah (7.2), while the text reads ‘I, therefore, and Dan feigned ourselves to be Amorites…’ there is a variant tradition (Greeks and Slavonic) which substitutes Gad for Dan…” (Mark W. Bartusch: Understanding Dan: An Exegetical Study of a City, Tribe and Ancestor (London, UK & New York, NY: Sheffield Academic Press, 2003), p. 2. http://books.google.com/books?id=QaVNdEbDJ_4C&pg=PP1&dq=mark+w+bartusch+understanding+dan&cd=1#v=onepage&q&f=false

[ii] William Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 1 (Longmann, 1965/1997), p. 62

[iii] Irenaeus of Lyons wrote about the Antichrist coming from the tribe of Dan in Against Heresies Book V Chapter 30: http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103530.htm

Hippolytus of Rome wrote that the Antichrist would be of the tribe of Dan in Treatise on Christ and Antichrist found in The Extant Works and Fragments of Hippolytus Part II: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf05.iii.iv.ii.i.html

[iv]Treatise on Christ and Antichrist: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf05.iii.iv.ii.i.html

More specifically Hippolytus wrote: “Thus did the Scriptures preach before-time of this lion and lion’s whelp. And in like manner also we find it written regarding Antichrist. For Moses speaks thus: “Dan is a lion’s whelp, and he shall leap from Bashan.” But that no one may err by supposing that this is said of the Saviour, let him attend carefully to the matter. “Dan,” he says, “is a lion’s whelp;” and in naming the tribe of Dan, he declared clearly the tribe from which Antichrist is destined to spring. For as Christ springs from the tribe of Judah, so Antichrist is to spring from the tribe of Dan. And that the case stands thus, we see also from the words of Jacob:  “Let Dan be a serpent, lying upon the ground, biting the horse’s heel.” What, then, is meant by the serpent but Antichrist, that deceiver who is mentioned in Genesis, who deceived Eve and supplanted Adam (ðôåñíéóáò, bruised Adam’s heel)? But since it is necessary to prove this assertion by sufficient testimony, we shall not shrink from the task. That it is in reality out of the tribe of Dan, then, that that tyrant and king, that dread judge, that son of the devil, is destined to spring and arise, the prophet testifies when he says, “Dan shall judge his people, as (he is) also one tribe in Israel.” But some one may say that this refers to Samson, who sprang from the tribe of Dan, and judged the people twenty years. Well, the prophecy had its partial fulfilment in Samson, but its complete fulfilment is reserved for Antichrist. For Jeremiah also speaks to this effect: “From Dan we are to hear the sound of the swiftness of his horses: the whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing, of the driving of his horses.” And another prophet says:  “He shall gather together all his strength, from the east even to the west. They whom he calls, and they whom he calls not, shall go with him. He shall make the sea white with the sails of his ships, and the plain black with the shields of his armaments. And whosoever shall oppose him in war shall fall by the sword.” That these things, then, are said of no one else but that tyrant, and shameless one, and adversary of God, we shall show in what follows.” (Hippolytus: Treatise on Christ and Antichrist, §14-15: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf05.iii.iv.ii.i.html)

[v] Norman Court: Old Ginger (Woodford Green, UK: The Society for Proclaiming Britain is Israel, undated), p. 13

Year
Juni 2010