3. The Twelve Tribes – Gad
By John Thiel
We are looking at specific characters with sin and errors that God can help overcome. The one hundred and forty four thousand were not perfect to start with.
Revelation 7:5 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.
Often when people have asked questions about the one hundred and forty four thousand, they think they are left out, as it seems too difficult. What scares people about the one hundred and forty four thousand is what is written about them.
Revelation 14:5 And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.
However the reality is that they are a poor and afflicted people.
Zephaniah 3:12 I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the LORD. 13 The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.
Does this need to affect us to the point that it rules me out?
Micah 7:18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. 19He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. 20Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.
These people are the remnant identified without fault and sin. Why? God has passed by their transgressions. This is why they have no iniquity. This is what we are exploring. Every kind of sin which we can identify. We saw it with Judah and Rueben. As we look at Gad’s beginnings, some may be able to identify with Gad. What were the beginnings of Gads life? Observe the kind of person God is using.
Genesis 30:1 And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die. 2And Jacob’s anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, Am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb? 3And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her. 4And she gave him Bilhah her handmaid to wife: and Jacob went in unto her. 5And Bilhah conceived, and bare Jacob a son. 6And Rachel said, God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan. 7And Bilhah Rachel’s maid conceived again, and bare Jacob a second son. 8And Rachel said, With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed: and she called his name Naphtali. 9When Leah saw that she had left bearing, she took Zilpah her maid, and gave her Jacob to wife. 10And Zilpah Leah’s maid bare Jacob a son. 11And Leah said, A troop cometh: and she called his name Gad.
Envy and Rivalry
What were the circumstances of his birth? Envy and rivalry between the sisters. This is the kind of human background that lies behind the twelve tribes, comparing ourselves amongst ourselves. How often humanity does this.
2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
God declares this as not wise. Gad was born under a very unwise circumstance.
It is seeking their goodwill by indulgence, that we may be held in greater estimation than others fully as worthy as ourselves. It is a hard thing to see one’s own errors; but everyone should realise how cruel is the spirit of envy, rivalry, distrust, fault finding, and dissension. T Vol 4 page 220.
Look at the influence upon him that was characteristic in his family.
Deuteronomy 33:20 And of Gad he said, Blessed be he that enlargeth Gad: he dwelleth as a lion, and teareth the arm with the crown of the head.”
What does this mean? Gad is vying for position. He already is a king but he tears someone else in the process. How does he tear the arm? With the crown on his head. This is the characteristic of Gad. He came from this rivalry concept. This spirit disqualifies us from feeling the Holy Spirits moving upon on us.
There should be no rivalry between our publishing houses. If this spirit is indulged, it will grow and strengthen, and will crowd out the missionary spirit. It will grieve the spirit of God and will banish from the institution the ministering angels sent to be co-workers with those who cherish the grace of God. T Vol 7 page 173-174.
Observe the early display of Gads childhood and youth.
Genesis 37:2 These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.
The sons of Jacob had evil behaviour. Restless spirits revealed itself amongst the sons. A restless spirit affects the child.
The restless spirit naturally inclines to mischief; the active mind, if left unoccupied with better things, will give heed to that which Satan may suggest. The children need to be instructed, to be guided in safe paths, to be kept from vice, to be won by kindness, and be confirmed in well-doing. Child Guidance page 33.
A lot of children are very mischievous. That caused good Joseph to go and report to his father about his brothers. Although a person may be born of such a background as Gad, there is still hope. They may say my beginning is so bad I’m born of a concubine. What is written about people born of whatever circumstance?
God’s plan of life has a place for every human being. Each is to improve his talents to the utmost; and faithfulness in doing this, be the gifts few or many, entitles one to honor. In God’s plan there is no place for selfish rivalry. Those who measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves among themselves, are not wise. 2 Corinthians 10:12. Whatever we do is to be done “as of the ability which God giveth.” 1 Peter 4:11. It is to be done “heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Colossians 3:23, 24. Precious the service done and the education gained in carrying out these principles. But how widely different is much of the education now given! From the child’s earliest years it is an appeal to emulation and rivalry; it fosters selfishness, the root of all evil. Thus is created strife for supremacy; and there is encouraged the system of “cramming,” which in so many cases destroys health and unfits for usefulness. In many others, emulation leads to dishonesty; and by fostering ambition and discontent, it embitters the life and helps to fill the world with those restless, turbulent spirits that are a continual menace to society. Education page 226.
Although he was not born to Jacobs real wives, yet God has a place for him. None need to say God has no purpose for me. In the twelve tribes are people of an abnormal parent hood. He did indeed have a place in Gods plan. He had a part in Israel. He provided a part for himself. Gad was the tribe from where the lawgivers would come. No matter the beginning, Gad can have a place.
1 Chronicles 12:8. And of the Gadites there separated themselves unto David into the hold to the wilderness men of might, and men of war fit for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains;
In time of need Gad’s tribe had a very fulfilling part. They were able to have a place in the time of David.
Deuteronomy 33:21 And he provided the first part for himself, because there, [in] a portion of the lawgiver, [was he] seated; and he came with the heads of the people, he executed the justice of the LORD, and his judgments with Israel.
As they were approaching the Promised Land the Gadites did not want to go over the river Jordan but to stay and settle in a nice part of the land.
Numbers 32:2 2The children of Gad and the children of Reuben came and spake unto Moses, and to Eleazar the priest, and unto the princes of the congregation, saying,
5Wherefore, said they, if we have found grace in thy sight, let this land be given unto thy servants for a possession, and bring us not over Jordan.
This characteristic is carried through the tribe. When you see these characters in the church, they are the Gadites. Notice how open you leave yourself when you are like this.
Genesis 49:19. Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.
What will happen to him?
Jeremiah 49:1. Concerning the Ammonites, thus saith the LORD; Hath Israel no sons? hath he no heir? why then doth their king inherit Gad, and his people dwell in his cities?
They settled in Gilead, the Amonites had easy access to them. We see them conquered. King Amon inherited their land but what was the secret of their being part of the 144,000? Why could Gad still overcome at last? Here is the characteristic of this sin trait. But he will overcome at last. You may ask why do these people act like that? They’re meant to be Christians! We are surrounded by evil angels that are like troops trying to overcome us all the time.
Your only hope is in confessing your backslidings. God has let light shine upon your pathway. Will you choose your own course of corruption? Will you cast the truth behind you because it will not sustain you in a course of iniquity? Oh, be entreated to “rend your heart, and not your garments.” Make thorough work for eternity. God will be merciful to you. He will be entreated in your behalf. He will not despise a broken and contrite spirit. Will you turn? Will you live? Your soul is worth saving; it is precious. We wish to help you. T Vol 2 page 303.
Although overcome by a troop, how will he be among the 144,000? Confess your back sliding. Whatever the sin is, it can be conquered. We don’t need to fall under it. Will you turn? Turn from those things.
If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.” How careful is the Lord Jesus to give no occasion for a soul to despair. How He fences about the soul from Satan’s fierce attacks. If through manifold temptations we are surprised or deceived into sin, He does not turn from us and leave us to perish. No, no, that is not our Saviour. Christ prayed for us. He was tempted in all points like as we are; and having been tempted, He knows how to succour those who are tempted. BC Vol 7 page 948.
Such a person as Gad. Such a particular characteristic, if it pertains to me I should not give up. If a troop overcome me, I can still get up. Jesus gives no occasion for a soul to despair.
The Victories of the Gadites
1 Chronicles 5:18 The sons of Reuben, and the Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh, of valiant men, men able to bear buckler and sword, and to shoot with bow, and skilful in war, [were] four and forty thousand seven hundred and threescore, that went out to the war.
5:20 And they were helped against them, and the Hagarites were delivered into their hand, and all that [were] with them: for they cried to God in the battle, and he was entreated of them; because they put their trust in him.
They cried to the Lord that he would deliver them. Here is the answer when we are overcome by temptation. We have an example of a Gadite. We know that they took their place in Gilead.
Judges 11:1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he [was] the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah.
11:2 And Gilead’s wife bare him sons; and his wife’s sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, and said unto him, Thou shalt not inherit in our father’s house; for thou [art] the son of a strange woman.
11:3 Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him.
Jephthah had the same beginnings as Gad. When the Amonites came to attack, the people of Gilead asked Jephthah to come back. He was a man of valour.
Hebrews 11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
33Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. Out of weakness were made strong.
What is written about Jephthah in Hebrews? Jephthah was one of those who conquered by faith. He was brought into fight the battles of the Lord.
Oh, the long-suffering mercy of our God! When His people put away the sins that had shut out His presence, He heard their prayers and at once began to work for them. A deliverer was raised up in the person of Jephthah, a Gileadite, who made war upon the Ammonites and effectually destroyed their power. For eighteen years at this time Israel had suffered under the oppression of her foes, yet again the lesson taught by suffering was forgotten. Patriach’s & Prophets page 558.
To be among the 144,000 you can come from such a background. You can be an overcomer. Sometimes we may think something about a certain character in the church but God is there to help.
Now something very significant for us in the last days. We are to have Elijah’s message. Which tribe did Elijah come from?
1 Kings 17:1. 1And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.
What happened to Elijah?
2 Kings 2:11. And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
Elijah, amid the general apostasy, did not seek to hide the fact that he served the God of heaven. Baal’s prophets numbered four hundred and fifty, his priests, four hundred, and his worshipers were thousands; yet Elijah did not try to make it appear that he was on the popular side. He grandly stood alone. The mountain was covered with people full of eager expectation. The king came in great pomp, and the idolaters, confident of triumph, shouted his welcome. But God had been greatly dishonoured. One man, and only one man, appeared to vindicate the honor of God. With clear, trumpetlike tones Elijah addressed the vast multitude: “How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him.” The result was that the Lord God, who ruleth in the heavens, was vindicated, and the Baal worshipers were slain. Where are the Elijahs of today?” T Vol 5 page 526-527.
Only one appeared to speak up and not bow the knee to Baal. It doesn’t matter where we have come from, sin of rivalry born of rivalling parents. God has a place for us. You know what its like when you fail, don’t hang your head although you may be overcome by a troop.