Q. 12000 from each of the 12 Tribes of Israel cannot be 144000 Jews. Judah was, as you know, only one of the 12 Tribes. The remaining 132000 must come from the 11 other Tribes and are not Jews. I would be comfortable reading 144000 Israelis as this once included all 12 Tribes. Correct me if I am wrong, but when Judah separated from Israel were there not 2 other smaller Tribes who joined with Judah, Dan being one?
A. I have never understood the need for this distinction. It’s only a manner of speaking, using the name by which the people of God are popularly known. You don’t hear them spoken of as Asherites, or Danites, or Ephraimites, or even Israelites. They’re called Jews. Only Jews who live in Israel are called Israelis.
In Rev. 7:1-8 they are called the servants of God and beginning in verse 5 are clearly identified as representing 12 of the 14 possible tribal names of the sons of Israel. Dan is omitted and Joseph’s name is used to identify the half tribe of Ephraim.
When the nation was divided following Solomon’s death the southern kingdom took the name of Judah, it’s largest tribe. All the Levites were rejected by the north and relocated into Judah, as did the faithful from all the other northern tribes (2 Chron. 11:13-17). Therefore all the tribes were represented in the Southern Kingdom. Its land was made up of the tribal allotments given to Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin. Dan’s territory was part of the Northern Kingdom.