Q. Re: Dan’s Tribe. What is your opinion as to why the tribe of Dan- one of the 12 tribes of Israel (Gen 49:16) is not listed in Rev.7?
A. There were originally 12 tribes but after the reunion in Egypt Jacob adopted the two sons of Joseph and split his tribe between them. So counting Ephraim and Manasseh, Joseph’s sons, there are actually 14 names to choose from. If you want the original 12 count Joseph. If you want to leave out Levi because you’re going to war and Levi is exempt split Joseph in half and call one half Ephraim and the other Manasseh. In Revelation 7 the Lord wanted to avoid mentioning Dan and Ephraim so He included Levi and split Joseph with Manasseh. Here’s why.
In 1 Kings 12:25-33 the City of Dan is identified as the location where one of two golden calves was set up for worshiping. The other was in Bethel in the region of Ephraim. Bethel actually became the center of religious worship for the Northern Kingdom before the temple was built in Samaria. Beth-El means house of God. Mind you this all took place nearly 300 years after the escape from Egypt. When they were dedicated, the pagan priest actually quoted the words Aaron spoke at the original introduction of the golden calf at Mt. Sinai, saying “These are your gods, Israel, that brought you up out of Egypt.” Incredible.
The placement of golden calves in these two cities marked the beginning of idol worship in Israel. It was the reason for all the faithful of all the tribes moving south (2 Chron 11:16), and the subsequent destruction of the Northern Kingdom by the Assyrians.
2 Kings 10:29 explains that those calves were still being worshiped in Dan 100 years later. Perhaps this is why the Tribe of Dan is not mentioned at all and Ephraim is only included by inference. Remember, Joseph and Manasseh are included in the list, and when you subtract Manasseh from Joseph you’re left with Ephraim. So the Lord included Ephraim but avoided having to mention him.