Q. Thank you for the quick response (to my previous question about Dan); could you tell me why is Manasseh is in Revelation and why the tribe of Dan isn’t there? We are having this discussion in our Wednesday night bible class.
A. Both Dan and Ephraim are omitted from the list of 12 tribes in Revelation 7. To come up with 12 names the Lord included Levi who usually isn’t listed and substituted Joseph for Ephraim.
Most scholars believe that Dan was omitted because it was through the tribe of Dan that idolatry was introduced into the land after Solomon died. (1 Kings 12:28-30) Jacob had prophesied in Genesis 49:17 that Dan will be a serpent by the roadside, a viper along the path, that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider tumbles backward. This is a hint that Dan would be responsible for Israel’s fall back into idolatry.
There’s a tradition that Dan was a ringleader in the kidnapping and sale of Joseph into slavery, and another one that the anti-Christ will come from the tribe of Dan, but neither one of these can be confirmed Biblically. For these or other reasons, no one from the tribe of Dan is sealed. But God is merciful, and at the beginning of the Kingdom Age when the land is re-distributed, Dan receives the first share. (Ezekiel 48:1)
There was a 2nd altar in Ephraim’s territory at Bethel, but he’s only omitted by name. Remember that the tribe of Joseph was divided between Ephraim and Manasseh when Jacob adopted them. When you subtract Manasseh from Joseph what you have left is Ephraim, so by calling Ephraim’s portion Joseph, the Lord sealed Ephraim’s people but didn’t have to mention his name.