Bible Gem 780 - The Revelation Seven Puzzle ~ Luke's Genealogy (Luke 3:23-38)

Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was (so it was thought) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli,

the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph,

the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai,

the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda,

the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri,

the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er,

the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi,

the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim,

the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Matattha, the son of Nathan, the son of David,

the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Salmon, the son of Nahshon,

the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah,

the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor,

the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah,

the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech,

the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan,

the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God. (Luke 3:23-28)

Here is the puzzle again:

The Standard List of Tribes The Revelation 7 List

Reuben Judah

Simeon Reuben

Levi Gad

Judah Asher

Dan Naphtali

Naphtali Manasseh

Gad Simeon

Asher Levi

Issachar Issachar

Zebulun Zebulun

Joseph Joseph

Benjamin Benjamin

Did you "spot the differences"?

The list has been rearranged from the normal list of tribes in the order of the birth of the sons of Jacob. Yes, indeed the order of the list is mixed up.

Furthermore Pak Suryadi was right; Dan was missing?

But there were more anomalies than that. Joseph is listed with Manasseh which only happens in this place in all Scripture.

Manasseh is chosen over Ephraim which is also strange.

Can you now explain why the list of tribes in Revelation has been rearranged with some substituted names?

My initial reaction to Pak Suryadi's question was along standard lines. I thought to myself, it is likely to be the substitution of Levi with both of Joseph's sons. That is normally what happens. But why would Dan be missing?

Levi is not normally mentioned in many of the lists of the tribes of Israel. Especially when inheritance is in focus. The Levites were not given an inheritance; God was their inheritance as the priestly tribe.

Normally Levi is not mentioned and Joseph is substituted by his two sons – Ephraim and Manasseh. That is the normal change that happens which keeps the numbers of tribes at twelve.

But this was different. In fact Joseph is kept in the Revelation 7 list and so too is one son, Manasseh. But the other son, Ephraim, is not included. That is strange, if any one of those sons is to be mentioned in preference to the other it should be Ephraim. Ephraim is the first mentioned of the two sons, inferring that he was the first born of the two. Ephraim is often used as a substitute for Israel as a collective or indicator of all the tribes. Mmm I thought, this puzzle is not going to be solved easily. Clearly something else is going on here. I did some digging. I had promised Pak Suryadi I would have an answer when we all met for the next seminar / workshop. I found out later Suryadi had been asking this question for 20 years.

The popular theory on this list is Manasseh was chosen because

Ephraim embraced Jeroboam’s idols. Dan was also involved in that apostasy so the tribe of Dan was omitted as well from the list of tribes. The conclusion many come is that those who worship idols will be excluded from heaven! But that is a simplistic answer because both Dan and Ephraim set up the golden idols in Dan and Bethel. Why therefore is Ephraim not excluded as well if that is the reason for the exclusion? I believe there is another reason which I will tell you tomorrow.

Why do I do that? Why do I tease you and then tell you I will give you the "answer" tomorrow? Some have asked why I do that? I do it in the hope of prodding you to find out for yourself. Some of you are beginning to find out there is a joy and excitement when you see for yourself some significant connection or link in the chain that gives revelation a to what is going on in a biblical text. That experience is worth more than burying yourself in the catacombs pouring over dusty commentaries seeking for the answers from the minds of past scholars. What if God showed you Himself? Wouldn't that be exciting? To think that you could find out things hidden in the biblical text or come to a realization as to "the true meaning" of a particular passage.

The Word of God is living and active and sharp. Just be careful you don't cut yourself on it. I will add more to that thought tomorrow. Once again I will give you another day to ponder these things. The conclusion tomorrow. Then its application will be left to you.

The ball will be in your court.

The lives of great men all remind us we can make our lives sublime and departing leave behind us footprints on the sands of time. Thoreau

Don't tell me the SKY is the limit, when there are footprints on the MOON!

Wherever you go make your mark. Ian

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