Shalom Friend and Partner of Israel,
What is the "Significance of the Twelve Tribes of
The Bible lists 12 sons of the patriarch
Let’s look at what the Bible tells us about the history and the future of the 12 tribes of
The blessings given to Abraham and Isaac were called the “birthright” blessings because they were passed on to successive generations as a right of their birth… The “birthright” blessings given to Abraham were passed on to Isaac, who married Rebekah.
The blessing of numerous descendants who would possess the gates of their enemies was a continuation of the blessing God had promised Abraham that He would fulfill in Isaac (Genesis -19, 21).
It’s important to note here that… Abraham had a previous son, Ishmael, by Hagar, and Ishmael’s descendants were also prophesied to become numerous and constitute a “great nation” that would feature “twelve princes” (Genesis ). The “great nation” of Ishmael’s descendants today is the Arab world. But, Ishmael was not God’s promised son to Abraham and from whom the twelve tribes of
Isaac passed his “birthright” blessings on to his son, Jacob, even though the oldest son, Esau, would normally have received them. Genesis 25:30-34 informs us that Esau “sold” his birthright to Jacob for some red stew and Isaac, officially passed on the birthright to Jacob (Genesis 27). One of the blessings Jacob received from Isaac was that other nations would bow down to the nations that would descend from Jacob (Genesis 27:29). Clearly, for this prophecy to be fulfilled, Jacob’s descendants would have to become great nations and empires. This same blessing also promised that God would bless the nations that blessed Jacob’s descendants and would curse the nations that cursed Jacob’s descendants. God reiterated Abraham’s blessings to Jacob in Genesis 28:10-15 by saying Jacob’s descendants would be as numerous as “the dust of the earth” and they would eventually spread to all four corners of the earth from the region of the Promised Land. Jacob’s name was later changed to “
The 12 tribes of
Since Joseph was expanded into two tribes, this meant that there would now be 13 tribes of
When the 12 tribes of
The northern kingdom of
The Blessings and Cursing of Deuteronomy… The
What’s the meaning of their names…?
Reuben - means “Seeing.” Born of Leah (Defiled his father’s bed).
Simeon - means “Hearing” – 2nd born of Leah. He was left as hostage in
Levi - means “Joined”- 3rd born of Leah. This was the priestly line--only Levites were permitted to be priests and even then they weren't allowed any physical blemishes.
Dan – means “God is judge” – 1st born of Bilhah. “Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path…” Genesis 49:17, also Amos 8:14.
Naphtali - means “Wrestling” – 2nd born of Bilhah, a “hind” too…Wrestling was what Jacob did prior to receiving the new name of Israel. It's a word used uniquely in Ephesians 6 - the Armour of God.
Gad - means “A troop comes” - 1st born of Zilpah. The blessing of Moses, Deuteronomy 33:20 says of Gad “he dwells as a lion, and tears the arm with the crown of the head.”
Asher - means “Blessed” – 2nd born of Zilpah. The blessing of Moses said of him: “...Let him dip his foot in oil”
Issachar - means “Wages” – 5th born of Leah.
Zebulun - means “Dwelling with husband” - 6th born of Leah. Spelled Zabulon, with an: a and o, in Matthew and Revelation, and the tribe called “Zebulonites” in Judges
Joseph - means “The Lord will add a son” – 1st born of Rachel. This Godly man is a figure (type) of Christ, and his coat of many colours was a precept of how Yeshua (Jesus) had His vesture dipped in blood as saviour to all colours and races of men. This Joseph was not in the father-son trail to Jesus.
Benjamin - means “Son of the right hand” - 2nd born of Rachel. Responsible for dismembering a body into twelve pieces, Judges . Now the church is described as a body with many members in 1Corinthians , and we see (Yeshua) Jesus is the REAL son of the right hand.
Manasseh - means “To forget my toil and my father's house” - 1st born son of Joseph. This was Gideon's tribe.
A type of “the Jew First,” Romans 2: 9-10. Known as - ‘half-tribe’ because their inheritance was on either (both) side(s) of
Ephraim - means “Fruitful”- 2nd son of Joseph. A type of… “and then the Gentile.” Romans 1:16. The ten tribes of the
Very Interesting to note… The 7th chapter of the Book of Revelation lists the 12,000 each of the twelve tribes of: Judah, Reuben, Gad, Asher, Naphtali, Manasseh, Simeon, Levi, Issachar, Zabulon, Joseph, Benjamin. Some spelling is different, and note that both Joseph and Manasseh are included, but NOT Dan and Ephraim.
The “blessings” or “cursing” of Jacob to his sons are prophetic… “And Jacob called to his sons and said, ‘Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you in the days to come. Gather yourselves together, and hear, sons of Jacob, and listen to
Reuben, you are my first-born, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the Excellency of dignity and the Excellency of power. Unstable as water, you shall not excel, because you went up to your father's bed; then you defiled it. He went up to my couch. Vs. 3-4
Simeon and Levi are brothers; tools of violence are their weapons. Oh my soul, do not come into their secret. Let not my honour be united with their assembly. For in their anger they killed a man, and in their self-will they hamstrung a bull. Let their anger be cursed, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel. I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in
Zebulun shall live at the sea shore. And he shall be a haven for ships, and his border beside
Issachar is a strong ass crouching down between the sheepfolds. And he saw that rest was good and that the land was pleasant. And he bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a tribute-slave. Vs. 14-15
Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of
Gad, raiders shall attack him, and he shall attack their heel. Vs. 19
Out of Asher his bread shall be fat, and he shall yield royal dainties. Vs. 20
Naphtali is a deer let loose. He gives goodly words. Vs. 21
Joseph is a fruitful son, a fruitful son by a well, whose branches run over the wall. The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and an archer lurks for him.
But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob (from the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel); by the God of your father, who shall help you. And may the Almighty bless you with blessings of Heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies beneath, blessings of the breasts and of the womb. The blessings of your father are above the blessings of my ancestors, to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills. They shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him, the ruler, and the leader of his brothers. Vs. 22-26
Benjamin is a wolf that tears in pieces. In the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil. Vs. 27
“All these were the twelve tribes of
Prophetic…? Yes! Jacob’s descendants will be blessed from the "deep that crouches beneath;" "for the chief things of the ancient mountains, and for the precious things of the lasting hills, and for the precious things of the earth." Issachar and Zebulun "shall suck of the abundance of the seas and of treasures hid in the sand." Asher will "dip his foot in oil." Deuteronomy 33:24
Oil has recently been discovered in
The same passages Zion Oil & Gas Founder John Brown heard Jim teach on a
The stones of heaven…! The Twelve tribes of
Revelation lists the twelve foundations of New Jerusalem, and the gems aren't all the same or in the same order as in Exodus, but let us remember how spelling in Greek differs from Hebrew which reads from right to left, and omits vowels:
Agate the second stone in the third row of the breastplate. The stone was associated with health, longevity, and wealth. It was brought in by merchants - (Ezekiel 27:22). And… listed to be in the New Jerusalem wall foundations (Revelation -21)
Amethyst It also in the breastplate, the wall foundations, and among the king's treasure. It is supposed to provide deep and pure love. It is a brilliant purple, close to the colour of red wine. It is also mentioned to be in the New Jerusalem wall foundations (Revelation -21)
Beryl is also in the breastplate and the wall foundations. It can be pale blue to yellowy green; can also be white or rose. It relates to happiness and everlasting youth. It is in the New Jerusalem wall foundations (Revelation -21)
Carbuncle is in the top row in the breastplate, and in the King of Tyre's treasure. It is a glittering red colour. Holding it up to the sun makes it look like burning coal, and in the New Jerusalem wall foundations (Revelation -21)
Carnelian is a blood red colour or it can be a pale skin colour, and is in the first stone in the breastplate. It also appears in the king's treasure, and in the New Jerusalem wall foundations (Revelation -21)
Chalcedony is one of the stones in the New Jerusalem wall foundations (Revelation -21). It is milky or greyish in colour and is translucent.
Chrysolyte is an orangey yellow in colour stone in the foundations of the New Jerusalem Wall (Rev. -21).
Chrysoprasus is a green agate and is also a New Jerusalem foundation stone (Revelation -21).
Onyx appears in the breastplate and belongs to the Joseph tribe. Its colour is white and black, and sometimes includes brown, and is also a New Jerusalem foundation stone (Revelation -21).
Other Gemstones – Biblical significance:
Amber (Ezekiel 1:4, 27; 8:2) – Hard, Translucent brownish yellow sometimes a glowing bronze - Symbol: “the presence and glory of God in Judgement, purification and sanctification.
Amethyst (Exodus 28:19, 39:1; Revelations ) – Rich purple to blue-violet of transparent quartz. It is the 9th stone decorating the breastplate - Symbol: “the royal priesthood, kingship and majestic.
Diamond (Jeremiah 17:1; Exodus 28:18, 39:11; Ezekiel 28:13, 3:9; Zechariah 7:12) - Brilliance and colourless; it is the hardest natural substance – Symbol: “stability, virtuous brilliancy, and right standing with God.”
Emerald (Exodus 28:18, 39:11; Ezekiel 27:16, 28:13; Revelations 4:3, 21:19) - a variety of Beryl. Rich lush medium green heavily included to flawless. Symbol: “glories of God and His saints, fresh, flourishing, essence of life, growth, integrity, new life, increase and prosperity.”
Jasper (Exodus 28:15, 20; 39:13; Revelations 4:3, ,
16, 18; Ezekiel 28:13) - Opaque variety of quartz and colour ranges from green to reddish brown to yellow having a waxy lustre. Symbol: “glory of God, splendour, brightness, magnificence and beauty.”
Pearl (Job 28:18; Matthew 7:6, 13:45&46; I Timothy 2:9; Revelations 17:4, 18:12, 21:21) If an irritant such as a grain of sand becomes trapped within it's shell, the oyster gradually covers it with layers of nacre, which form the precious pearl inside. Symbol: “God's truth, God’s people formed through suffering, endure, and a costly experience. Greek term for pearl: “Margaret” meaning lovely gem.
Ruby (Job 28:18; Proverbs , , ; Lam. 4:7) - fiery, deep-red, transparent form of corundum – Symbol: “preciousness, of great value, costly glories, wisdom, and prized treasure.”
Sapphire (Exodus 24:10, 28:13&18, 39:11; Job 28:6&16; Lam. 4:7; Isaiah 54:11; Ezekiel , 10:1, 28:13; Revelations , & 20) - there are many hues of this form of corundum; the most recognized is the “Star of India.” Symbol: “beauty, hardness, natural excellence, the flower Hyacinth.”
Topaz (Exodus 28:13&17, 39:10; Job 28:12&19; Ezekiel 28:13; Revelations ) - a colourless, blue, yellowish brown, or pink, aluminium silicate (mineral). The yellow graduating to pink are the most valued. Symbol: “beauty, worthiness, precious gem and seasonable.”
A Remembrance… Like the two sardonyx shoulder stones in the breastplate (Exodus 28:9-10), the Bible states that the purpose of the twelve stones is “to be a perpetual remembrance before the Lord” (Exodus 28:29). When the High Priest bore the breastplate into the holy place,
There is also a tradition which Moses received at the Sinai revelation, that all 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet should be present on the stones. Since all of these letters are not found in the names of Jacob's descendants, several other words were also engraved upon the stones: the names of the patriarchs, Abraham Isaac and Jacob, and the words “the tribes of Jeshurun.” One opinion is that the words Abraham, Isaac and Jacob appeared at the top of the first stone, over the name Reuben, and the other words on the last stone. Others maintain that all these extra letters were divided among the stones.
Jeshurun in the Bible is a “poetic” name for
“You have been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering, the ruby, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the turquoise, and the emerald, and gold. The workmanship of your tambourines and of your flutes was prepared in you in the day that you were created.” Ezekiel 28:13
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Alf & Julie Saunders
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