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“…of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand were sealed; 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; 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; of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand were sealed“
 
Verses five through eight identify those God sealed — members of the tribes of Israel.
 
7:5
of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand were sealed;
Judah is the ruling tribe, the aristocratic tribe. This is the tribe of King David and of Jesus.
of the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand were sealed;
Reuben was the first born.
of the tribe of Gad twelve thousand were sealed;
7:6-7
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;
of the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand were sealed;
of the tribe of Levi twelve thousand were sealed;
Usually the Bible omits the tribe of Levi [the priestly tribe] from the lists of tribes because they had no inheritance of land.
of the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand were sealed;
Issachar means strong ass. The ass was a beast of burden. Maybe this was the blue-collar tribe!
7:8
of the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand were sealed; of the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand were sealed;
This list does not include Ephraim but on the other hand, it does include Joseph. Joseph may simply be another name for Ephraim.
of the tribe of Benjamin twelve thousand were sealed
These tribes are actual Israelites and are not representatives of the church. No one knows the identity of these tribes today, not even the nation Israel. All records were destroyed by the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. God, however, knows who they are. The Bible includes 29 lists of the tribes of Israel. In no case are there more than 12 listed.
The seals on these twelve tribes indicate God’s sovereign protection of these tribes during the Tribulation period. God has preserved Israel down through the centuries.
God does not include the tribe of Dan in this list. Dan committed treachery by initiating apostasy into Israel (Genesis 49:17; 1 Kings 11:26; 12:28-30). However, God will not disinherit Dan during the Millennium (Ezekiel 48:1,2).
Principle:
It is important to distinguish between Jews and Gentiles.
Application:
These 12 tribes are Israelites, not Jehovah Witnesses or British Israelites. Nor do these tribes refer to the church.
Jehovah Witnesses originally claimed that the 144,000 were people of their religion. That interpretation became a problem when their numbers outgrew 144,000. They juggled their interpretation to adjust to their changing reality. They then said that there was an earthly band of 144,000, then they claimed there was an additional heavenly band. That would now allow for 288,000 people. Since their numbers have gone beyond 288,000, they now claim a third category — “the servant band.” People today who become Jehovah Witnesses can join at the servant level.
Changes in the organization caused changes in their doctrine. This distorts Scripture to harmonize a doctrine and makes up doctrine to suit the current situation. Jehovah Witnesses were never Jews in the first place. This passage excludes every Gentile.
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