1. The Twelve Tribes – Judah
By John Thiel
How are the one hundred and forty four thousand established and how do they enter into the gates of the city of the new Jerusalem? It is by the three angels messages and the angels which are sealing them that does this. But as individuals, we have a part to play.
Revelation 7:4 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. 5 Of the tribe of Juda [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad [were] sealed twelve thousand. 6 Of the tribe of Aser [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nephthalim [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses [were] sealed twelve thousand. 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. 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.
Ponder upon what we read. Every name that is mentioned is significant. It’s not the twelve little tribes that were selected, but the true Israel. These one hundred and forty four thousand were being sealed from the time of the end. As they are being sealed, twelve groups are being identified. They are being developed throughout the work of the sealing. From 1844 onwards, they are being developed in the righteousness of Christ. They washed their robes in the blood of the lamb and made them white.
Revelation 14:5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
Here is the end product. The New Jerusalem identifies these twelve tribes.
Revelation 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Revelation 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
The city is the bride. She is arrayed in fine white linen. The city represents the people that have been made as white as snow. The gates are made of pearl. Pearls are white. How is a pearl created? From a grit of sand inside an oyster shell. The life fluids of the oyster go around the sand. It grows bigger and bigger. What happens? An irritating condition, an offending matter creates the pearl. Sin is an offending matter. Christ engulfs us in his righteousness, his response dealt with sin. The twelve gates of the city are made of pearl and have a name on them.
Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
Sin is a character trait. But a character trait can be altered into something better. The twelve tribes had an irritating aspect. Our weaknesses can become our strength. Christ’s life of righteousness developed from irritation. Offending irritable suffering imparted his righteousness. Believers who understand that, no matter how evil they feel, as the sinner looks to Jesus, life fluids cover the sinner. The one hundred and forty four thousand have overcome as Jesus overcame.
Revelation 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
Jesus speaks to the people of the judgement. The twelve tribes come through twelve gates of experience. From the irritant of sin to a beautiful pearl. Everything symbolic is real. The city is a real thing full of symbols. It’s an experience that develops purity. The people that go through the twelve gates have an experience. The irritant develops into a pearl. That city is a comprehension of Gods character. We become a part of the body of Christ. Just twelve aspects of Christs character.
1 Corinthians 12:12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body [were] an eye, where [were] the hearing? If the whole [were] hearing, where [were] the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where [were] the body? 20 But now [are they] many members, yet but one body.
The Experiences of Each Tribe
Each person is a particular part of the body. But one person is not the whole body. Twelve traits of character make one complete character. The body is Christ but different experiences. Trace the experiences of each tribe from the sinful beginning of each person. Figure out what tribe we fit into. Which tribe do we start with? Judah. Why Judah? What particular character develops? Why Christ could be born of this tribe?
Revelation 7:5. Of the tribe of Judah were sealed twelve thousand.
What were the circumstances of the birth of Judah?
Genesis 29:30 And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years. 31 And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.
Judah was from Leah. Jacob wanted Rachel. He had to work for seven years to marry her. He was given Leah and then finally Rachel. However one was preferred more than the other. He loved Rachel and didn’t care about Leah. It wasn’t Gods will that he should marry two women. Imagine the kind of stresses in these women. What happened when Judah was born?
Genesis 29:35 And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.
Leah praised the Lord. Into this environment was Judah born. Praising the Lord. What happens when Leah praised the Lord?
Psalms 50:23 Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.
God will show her the salvation of the Lord.
As a rule, children inherit the dispositions and tendencies of their parents, and imitate their example; so that the sins of the parents are practiced by the children from generation to generation. Patriarch’s & Prophets page 118.2
Judah was born to a mother praising the Lord. The legacy is passed on. The Sons of Jacob had a terrible struggle with envy as they grew up. All the rest of those sons were malicious, they conspired to slay Joseph.
Genesis 37:18 And when they saw him afar off, even before he came near unto them, they conspired against him to slay him. 19 And they said one to another, Behold, this dreamer cometh. 20 Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.
They went against Joseph but who first began to consider and feel concerned about him?
Genesis 37:24 And they took him, and cast him into a pit: and the pit [was] empty, [there was] no water in it. 25 And they sat down to eat bread: and they lifted up their eyes and looked, and, behold, a company of Ishmeelites came from Gilead with their camels bearing spicery and balm and myrrh, going to carry [it] down to Egypt. 26 And Judah said unto his brethren, What profit [is it] if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? 27 Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmeelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he [is] our brother [and] our flesh. And his brethren were content.
Judah’s goodness protected Joseph.
As Judah thought of Joseph dying in the pit, suffering a lingering death by starvation, he was troubled. For a short time, he with others of his brethren, seemed to possess a satanic frenzy. But after they had begun to accomplish their wicked purposes to the helpless, innocent Joseph, some of them were ill at ease. They did not feel that satisfaction they thought they should have to see Joseph perish. Judah was the first one to express his feelings. He said unto his brethren, What profit is it if we slay our brother, and conceal his blood? Come, and let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him; for he is our brother and our flesh; and his brethren were content. Then there passed by Midianites, merchantmen; and they drew and lifted up Joseph out of the pit, and sold Joseph to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver, and they brought Joseph into Egypt. SG Vol 3:14:1
Later we see the character of Judah. He offered to be a servant in Josephs household rather than leave Benjamin there when the eleven brothers went to Egypt to purchase grain during the famine. Joseph wanted to see his younger brother Benjamin and asked the brothers to go back and collect him from his father.
Genesis 43:8 And Judah said unto Israel his father, Send the lad with me, and we will arise and go; that we may live, and not die, both we, and thou, and also our little ones. 9 I will be surety for him; of my hand shalt thou require him: if I bring him not unto thee, and set him before thee, then let me bear the blame for ever:
Genesis 44:30 Now therefore when I come to thy servant my father, and the lad be not with us; seeing that his life is bound up in the lad’s life; 31 It shall come to pass, when he seeth that the lad is not with us, that he will die: and thy servants shall bring down the gray hairs of thy servant our father with sorrow to the grave. 32 For thy servant became surety for the lad unto my father, saying, If I bring him not unto thee, then I shall bear the blame to my father for ever. 33 Now therefore, I pray thee, let thy servant abide instead of the lad a bondman to my lord; and let the lad go up with his brethren. 34 For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father.
Judah says he will be a bondman. Judah had steadfastness.
A man may not bear the most pleasant exterior, he may be deficient in many respects; but if he has a reputation for straightforward honesty, he will gain the confidence of others. The love of the truth, the dependence and confidence which men can place in him, will remove or overbear objectionable features in his character. Trustworthiness in your place and calling, a willingness to deny self for the purpose of benefiting others, will bring peace of mind and the favour of God. TV 4 page 353
Judah had trustworthiness and firmness of character.
Genesis 49 8 Judah, thou art he whom thy brethren shall praise: thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies; thy father’s children shall bow down before thee. 9 Judah is a lion’s whelp (puppy): from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up? 10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.
The crowning blessings of the birthright were transferred to Judah. The lion, the king of the forest, is a fitting symbol of this tribe from which came David and the Son of David, Shiloh, the true Lion of the tribe of Judah, to whom all powers shall finally bow and all nations render homage. Patriarchs & Prophets page 236:1
Caleb was also of the tribe of Judah. He displayed courage.
Numbers 13:6 Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh.
Numbers 13:30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.
Numbers 14:24 But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.
Daniel was from the tribe of Judah. Bezaleel was the architect of the sanctuary
Exodus 31:2 See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:
Exodus 36:1 Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whom the LORD put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the LORD had commanded. 36:2 And Moses called Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whose heart the LORD had put wisdom, [even] every one whose heart stirred him up to come unto the work to do it:
Judah – The tribe God honoured. We may come from a failing sinful circumstance. We can become resolved firm and trustworthy. God blessed Judah with a special beginning. The character of Judah eclipses all others.