~ The 12 Tribes of Israel Today ~

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                The Twelve Tribes Today                  


  A Guide For God's Children Who Are Trying To Find Themselves,

                And Their Places In His Work.   




                      "What's in a Name?"


    It is generally known that it has been the practice of some

cultures, both ancient and modern, to assign children a name that

in some way reflects the actual or hoped-for character of the

child. Expectant parents often buy booklets containing lists of

names, with their ancient meanings, hoping to find a name for

their child that describes the character traits or accomplishments

they hope their child to have. When God made man in Gen. 7:2, He

formed him from "dust", evidently clay, and named him "Adam",

literally in Hebrew,"dirt". Not very imaginative, we might think,

but exactly accurate, and applicable to all mankind.


    Often, some years into a child's life, a nickname might be

assigned if the given name seems to have been inaccurate, or if

some major event seems to indicate a dominant trait of character.

In this writer's case, my given name is Celtic for "Noble", but

after wrecking my first car my friends thought the term "Crash"

was more appropriate for several years. As the years have gone by

it seems that both names are accurate, more or less.


    In the Bible we find several instances where individual's

names have been modified or permanently changed. We read that God

modified the names of Abram, "Exalted Father", and Sarai,

"Dominative", or "Domineering" (!), to Abraham, "Father of a

Multitude", or "...of Nations", and Sarah, "Princess" (still a

dominant position), when they entered into a covenant relationship

with Him in Gen.17:5, 15. In Gen. 32:28 God completely renamed

Jacob, meaning "Supplanter", or "Usurper", dubbing him "Israel",

meaning "A Prince With God", having princely power with God and

men, after he realized his own dependency on God. We read also

that Moses altered the name "Oshea", meaning "to save", to

"Jehoshua" (Joshua), meaning "Jehovah is salvation". Num. 13:2,16;

14:6, etc.


    Jesus Himself also used the custom of nicknaming in reference

to some of His disciples. James and his brother John He called

"Boanerges"--"Sons of Thunder", Mark 3:17. Simon, He permanently

surnamed "Peter"__(Greek,"Petros") literally, "A 'small' stone",

while referring to Himself as "this Stone--(Greek, "Petra")

literally, "A gigantic boulder", and a certain Joses was nicknamed

by the disciples "Barnabas"--"Son of Consolation" when he made a

large monetary gift for the support of the early church (Acts



    In the pronunciation of the Alexandrian Jews, the word Jeshua,

or Joshua (Neh. 8:17) was altered into Jesus. Hence 'Jesus' is

read for Joshua in the Greek of the New Testament and retained in

the King James Version in Acts 7:45 and Heb. 4:8, margin.

Joshua, by his work and the meaning of his name, is a type of

Jesus. Literal Israel was led into the land of promise, not by

Moses, whose name means "drawn" (Ex. 2:10, margin), but by Joshua.

Joshua encouraged Israel to possess the land, saying "Jehovah is

with us" (Num. 14:9). So, spiritual Israel is led into the eternal

Canaan by Jesus, "Jehovah Saviour".


    Jesus is also referred to by a number of symbolic names used

throughout Scripture. For a few examples, He is the "Seed of the

Woman" (Gen. 3:15), "Shiloh"--"Whose it Belongs" (Gen. 49:10), the

"Branch of David" (Isa. 4:2), "Messiah, the Prince" (Dan. 9:25),

"Michael--'One Like God', your Prince" (Dan.10:21), ["Christ", and

"Messiah", are Greek and Hebrew, respectively, for "Anointed One",

(Mt. 1:16, margin)], the creative "Word" of God (John 1:1), "Son

of Man" (Mt. 8:20), and as the "Stone" (Mt. 21:44), "Cornerstone"

(1 Pet. 2:6), or "Rock" (1 Cor. 10:4).


    In Rev. 12:7-9, besides Michael, the representative of God's

authority, we find the names used to designate the great fallen

foe, the opposer of God and man, Satan, the "Adversary" , or

"Enemy" (Zech.3:1, margin). Satan's heavenly name, "Lucifer"

(Isaiah 14:12, margin), meant "Day Star", "Light Bearer", or

literally, "Lumens Ferry". Scientists use the term, "lumens" to

describe the strength of a light source, and we all know what a

"ferry"-boat is for. The word "devil", means "Slanderer", or

"Accuser" (Rev, 12:10-12), and the symbolic names, "dragon" and

"lion" (1 Pet. 5:8) suggest his ravenous desire to devour the

saints of God. When designated as the "serpent", his cunning

craftiness and deceptive powers are referred to.


    All Hebrew names beginning or ending with "El" have meanings

linking them with God. (Even the word, "God", in the Hebrew,

"Eloim", actually a plural, literally translates as "Gods" in the

same way that several "strands" make one "rope".) For example,

Elimelech, "God is King"; Daniel, "God is my Judge"; Ezekiel, "the

Strength of God"; Immanuel, "With Us is God", and Elijah, "God is

Yahweh (or Jehovah)". Names beginning or ending with "iah",or

"Jah", are also names of God: Isaiah, literally, "Jeshaiah", means

"Jehovah has Saved", and Jeremiah, "Jehovah Shall Arise".


    We are expecting someday to enter the New Jerusalem in heaven

as our new and permanent home. The name, Jerusalem, (a plural

word) means "Foundations of Peace". The original name of the city

was "Salem" (Gen. 14:18), like "Shalom", meaning "Peace". In Heb.

7:1-2 Paul makes a play upon the meanings of the names of

Melchisedec and Salem: "For this Melchisedec, king of

Salem...first being by interpretation King of Righteousness, and

after that also King of Salem. which is, King of Peace."

Melchisedec is definitely stated in the Scriptures to be a type of

Jesus, having no beginning or end, (also Ps. 110:4) and Jerusalem,

the city of the "Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6), is presented in the

Revelation as the seat of the Messiah's spiritual kingdom,

spiritual Israel--the Church, and also the capital of the eternal



    Throughout Scripture, Jerusalem, the city of peace, is

presented as the center of the great controversy between the

forces of good and evil--between the principles which are the

foundation for everlasting peace and the principles which create

strife, death, and destruction. The names written on the twelve

gates of this city are "the names of the twelve tribes of the

children of Israel", Rev. 21:12, and, like Melchisedec, spiritual

Israelites are said to be "kings and priests" (Rev. 1:6; 5:10;



    God recorded details associated with the giving of the names

of Jacob's sons, and pointed out why they were called by their

respective names. Because these names are mentioned in the book of

Revelation where the completion of the work of God on earth is

brought to view--the sealing "of all the tribes of the children of

Israel" (Rev, 7:1-8)--these names and their meanings are especially

meaningful to the remnant church.


    The order in which the names of the tribes of the children of

Israel are given in Rev. 7 is also significant. They are not given

in the order of their birth. Setting out the names in the order in

which they are given in Rev. 7, we see that in this arrangement of

the names according to their meanings and not according to their

order of birth, we have a sort of acrostic that reveals God's

message of assurance to those who are to be finally and forever

sealed among the tribes of Spiritual Israel.


        (Read the meanings down as a connected sentence.)


          Name       Meaning


Rev. 7:5  Judah......"Praise" (All the gates of the New Jerusalem

                      are primarily named "Praise", Isa. 60:18.)


          Reuben....."Behold a son" (John 1:12; Rom. 8:14-17,etc.)


          Gad........"A company" (Rev. 7:9; 19:1-6, etc.)         

                      of sons, redeemed and...


     v.6  Aser........"Happy" (John 13:17; 16:33, etc.)



          Nepthalim..."Wrestling" (Gen. 32:24-30, etc.)

                       in prayer...


          Manasses...."Forgetting" (Phil. 3:13; Isa. 65:17, etc.)

                       self, and the past...


     v.7  Simeon......"Hearing" (1 Sam. 3:10, "Speak, Lord, for

                       Thy servant heareth".)

                       God's word, and...


          Levi........"Joined" (John 15:1-7; Acts 2:47, etc.)     

                       to God and the Church as...


          Issachar...."Hired Servant(s)" (Rom. 6:16-22, etc.)

                       doing His will, and...  


      v.7 Zabulon....."Dwelling With" (Ps. 91:1; Isa. 33:14, etc.)


          Joseph......"Added", or "Accumulating" (2 Pet. 1:2,5-7)

                       sanctification, and fruitfulness in

                       bringing more...


          Benjamin...."Son(s) of the right hand" into fellowship

                       to make up the number of the 144,000.

                       (no longer "sons of sorrow", without hope

                       and without God in the world, Eph. 2:12). 


    All Christians are, in a sense, 'junior behavioral scientists'

in that we are constantly seeking to present the truths of God

and His Word in such a way as to have the greatest influence upon

the minds of others so as to lead them into the path leading to

eternal life. As we consider the characteristics of each of the

twelve tribes, it is likely that we may find our own selves

portrayed therein. This can be valuable knowledge to us now in

this preparation time, because as we become more and more able to

clearly identify our strengths and weaknesses we will be more able

to discern the devil approaching us through those weak points and

guard them. We will also be able to emphasize our strong points

most aggressively and efficiently for the glory of the Lord. There

is very great personal satisfaction and joy in the knowledge that

we are being useful to our Lord, the King, in a concrete way.

As it turns out, the very names of the twelve tribes say something

about the character of those people and of the God they serve.

Scripture also often indicates that these character traits

manifest themselves differently depending on one's converted or

unconverted condition.


Most of what is commonly known among laymen these days about

personality and temperament comes from the writings of medieval

Greek and Latin physiologists who believed that the conditions of

the body and mind, described as sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric (or

bilious), and melancholic, were produced by an excess of one of

the four corresponding bodily humors; blood, phlegm, bile, and

lymph. These body fluids were formerly considered responsible for

one's health and disposition. Surely you have heard of someone

being described as being in good or bad humor lately, and we say

that a witty or cheerful person is humorous.  An excess of blood

(Latin-'sangre') made sanguines red-faced and jolly

(notwithstanding the possible effects of indulgence in alcohol).

An excess of phlegm certainly must have been the reason

phlegmatics were so slow, and in the King James Version in Dan.

8:7 the he-goat "was moved with choler (anger) against" the ram.

Evidently he had an excess of bile, or was "bilious". And of

course, melancholics had an excess of clear lymph fluid, which

caused them to shed so many tears all the time. Whether they were

happy or sad, they were always crying.


As of late, some would-be Christian (even SDA) behavioural

scientist-therapists have tacked some new names onto these old

medieval theories. Instead of being characterized as sanguine, one

might be described as a "spring", or "bright colors" person, or as

an "otter" personality. Instead of phlegmatic, you might be a

"summer", or "soft colors" person, or a "Golden Retriever"

personality. Rather than choleric, you would be characterized as

an "autumn", or "earth colors" person, or as a "lion" personality,

and instead of a melancholy attitude, one is described as (of

course) a "winter" person (naturally, its the only other season

left), or "contrast colors" person, or as a "beaver" personality.

(Personally, I have to strain to make that last connection!)


It seems that the intent of these modern-day teachers is at least

to inspire us to celebrate our own individuality instead of

feeling sorry for our shortcomings, while avoiding conflict with

those of other emotional make-ups. This is a worthy motive, but

the more useful of these teachers will point out that Jesus

manifested all of the four temperaments in an appropriate manner,

at the appropriate times. This shows a higher conception of our

purpose and responsibility to reflect the image of Jesus fully

during our time on this earth, but these conceptions, as useful as

they may be, still fall far short of the breadth of diversity that

God has ordained should exist among humankind. "...we are made a

spectacle to the world, and to angels, and to men" ( 1 Cor. 4:9).

It takes more than only four temperaments, or personalities, among

humans, to reveal the true and complete character of God to the



To worldly observers, and those who are under their limiting

influence, it appears that the four types of temperament, as they

are traditionally understood, are sufficient to explain all the

ins-and-outs of human nature and behavior, and an attempt to use a

more complex line of reasoning to stratify and classify behavior

might seem redundant and pedantic, and involve a considerable

amount of overlapping behavioural characteristics. However, God

sees not as man sees, and upon investigation of the Eternal Word,

man can be enabled to understand God's perspective on mankind and

begin to think His thoughts after Him.


It may be quite surprising to discover that the characters of the

twelve tribes really don't overlap very much at all! It is the

earnest hope of this writer that the simple analysis presented

here will aid many of God's people to accurately identify the

gifts, or "tools for ministry" that God has given them so that

they will be able to feel confident and assured in the possession

of precious and valuable talents which they may use to trade with

for the Master's glory.


Consider how these various characters, personalities, or

temperaments might manifest themselves in your local church



1.      Reuben: "See, a son". Should have been a manly example of

self-control and leadership. When unconverted, Reubenites are

wishy-washy, lacking in firmness and resolution and easily

influenced to act contrary to their own conscience. Often make

promises that aren't carried out. Takes the path of least

resistance. Indecisive, lukewarm, and complacent. But on the

positive side: is kindly, accommodating, and has many good

intentions. Tends to soften whoever they contact with, like water

usually does, which could be good or bad depending on

circumstances. These people need the external pressure of a

serious crisis to lead them to examine themselves, and clearly

understand their sinful self-complacency and weakness. If they

turn to God in their distress, He will give them a new character;

firm resolution and strength of decision, especially to be able to

refuse temptations to evil that they used to fall for so easily.

They are "watery" until a "fire" is turned on under them, which

converts them into powerful "steam engines" for doing good. E.G.

White uses more negative terms to describe this tribe than any

other, but when (or if) the turnaround occurs, it is also the most

dramatic of any other tribe. Judges 5:16 describes such an



2.      Simeon: "hearing". When unconverted, Simeonites have

strong passions and are fearless, but also are sensual and

self-indulgent. The greatest single identifying characteristic of

this tribe seems to be their great physical energy which could be

bad or good, once again, depending on circumstances. Though the

name means "hearing" they seem to have a hard time listening to

anybody. Have you ever met someone like that? Whatever it is, they

want to do it now, immediately-if-not-sooner! These "irresistible

force" people, though unstoppable, however, can be rather easily

"deflected" or "steered." But if not governed in some way, they

can get into big trouble! Jacob's son was guilty of mass-murder at

Shechem, and the tribe was guilty of lust and sensuality at

Baal-Peor. Jacob's "blessing" of the tribe in Genesis 49 was

certainly nothing to covet after, and Moses in Deuteronomy 33

omitted mention of them at all. The blessing was given to one of

Joseph's sons instead. With all this negative against them one

wonders how any of them could ever be accepted in through the

gates of the Holy City of God. Nothing positive is said about the

tribe as such in all of Scripture.


This problem of the Simeonite's getting into the Kingdom was a

real "stumper" until it was discovered that the Greek term for

"hearing" is pronounced "Simon" or "Simeon" (Acts 15:14, KJV).

Perhaps the connection between the impetuous, self-assertive Simon

Peter and the tribe of Simeon can be seen. He was quick with both

his mouth and his sword before he was converted. But after his

conversion experience, Peter was able to control his strong

passions and be humble, and was called to strengthen his brethren

and feed the lambs. Proper feeding strengthens the young.


In the Apocrypha, Judith, a Simeonite, fearlessly delivered

Israel. The aged Simeon in the temple fearlessly interrupted the

"astonished" priest (The Desire of Ages, 55) to prophesy

concerning Christ, mentioning a sword, and humbly accepted God's

will for his own death, as did Peter himself many years later.


3.      Levi: "joining". When joined with Simeon manifested evil

cruelty and a callous disregard for life while thinking it was his

duty. (Judges 19). But when the tribe saw their duty to join with

Moses on God's side they did some good (Ex. 32), not being afraid

to do callousing and unpleasant work if it was a duty for God. As

teachers, the Levites were to join Israel to their God. Their duty

was to assist the priests and act as missionary-teachers.

Barnabas, a Levite, (Acts 4:36), sold his earthly property to

become a missionary. His sense of duty made him stand firm in a

crisis situation (against the apostle Paul) about teaching young

John Mark how to be a missionary. As Levite leaders, Moses was

God's firm administrator faithful to his duty (Hebrews 3:5), and

Aaron, after failing to understand one duty, later firmly

restrained his grief at the loss of his two sons in order to help

teach God's lesson to Israel. Miriam was also a teacher-leader in

singing God's praises. Faithfulness to perceived duty seems to be

a hallmark here. (How necessary for our young people to be taught

about faithfulness to duty for God now!)


4.      Judah: "Praise." This son of Jacob, and his tribe in

general valued honesty, fidelity, strict integrity, righteousness,

and loyalty to God. In the home life he could be counted on and

trusted in with confidence during times of perplexity. God dealt

with unrighteousness in two of Judah's sons with severity, and

when outwitted by his daughter-in-law, Tamar, he noted the

superior quality of her righteousness (Genesis 38:26).

Interestingly, this story of Judah's lapse is placed in the midst

of the story of Joseph, just before he successfully resists

Potiphar's wife. A strong rebuke to Judah. Judites known for their

righteousness are Caleb, David and other faithful kings, Daniel

and his three friends, and of course, Jesus "the lion of the tribe

of Judah." The term, "Jew", came into use during the period of the

captivity in Babylon as a shortened form of "Judah", meaning the

southern kingdom of the divided Israel as a whole.


5.      Naphtali: "wrestling". Jacob's blessing of this tribe

compared them to a loosed female deer (Genesis 49:21). These

people seem to be continually wrestling between self-preservation

and self-sacrifice, reflecting the contention and competition

between the two motives. These ones are naturally somewhat timid,

nervous, sensitive, retiring, fearful and wary of danger (which is

not all bad). But on the positive side, the Naphtalite's wary

nature helps them to discern spirits readily (1 Cor. 12:10). They

are generous, able to give a "goodly word," to be a comforter, a

counselor, and a loyal friend and helper. Their carefree,

happy-go-lucky, sometimes even comical attitude lightens the

burdens of those of whom they associate with, but they don't

usually bear heavy responsibilities well themselves. No one would

attempt to strap a donkey's burden on a deer!


However, they are willing to do dirty work if duty (especially to

God) requires it, and to be persevering, determined, and

self-sacrificing. Moses, in Deuteronomy 33, observed that these

seek for, and are content with, favor and approval from God (and

man) rather than fame (Judges 4:9), or riches (Judges 5:19). They

also love nature and nature's God, and love music and the praises

of God.


Barak, the only prominent leader of this tribe, seemed to be a

rather dependent sort himself, not being too proud to let a woman

lead, recognizing and honoring Deborah's office as God's chosen

spokeswoman (a position quite similar to that of Mrs. Ellen G.

White today).


Gad: "a troop". The character of the tribe was throughout fierce

and warlike. Fearless, steadfast, firm, unwavering, each one was

as courageous as a "troop" collectively, all by himself!

Distinguished Gadites were Barzillai, a friend of king David, who

was a warrior-king, and Jepthah, the leader of a marauding band,

who, when called to God's service showed an intimate knowledge of

God's dealings with Israel and the surrounding nations, and he had

great zeal for God's glory, and firmness about keeping his word.

Elijah, probably the best known Gadite, was ready and unafraid at

God's command to walk in on and confront the apostate wicked king

Ahab, oppose the whole nation alone, and slay by his own hand

eight hundred and fifty prophets and priests of Baal. He also

rebuked King Ahaziah, (2 Kings 1) prophesying his death.


Chosen as God's unflinching spokesman to pronounce judgment upon

kings, and to singehandedly manage the worst national crisis up to

that time, it is indeed profound to consider that Elijah's spirit

and power will be manifested by the entire last generation of the

faithful who are to carry God's last-day, judgment-hour message to

the whole world!


7.      Asher: "happy". Here is a tribe of people of a

considerably more amiable disposition. Not very aggressive, but

firmly founded in trust in God and strength from God. These are

able to appear to easily step over, or pass smoothly through,

rough difficulties. Possessing divine fortitude and inner

strength, they are able to bear heavy trials without complaining.

They are also able to encourage others in trials and manifest more

than ordinary humility and reverence for God.


Asherites bore mocking and insult from friends in order to

reconsecrate themselves to God (2 Chronicles 30:10-11), and Anna,

the prophetess, served God devotedly in the temple with fastings

and prayers (Luke 2:36-38).


8.      Issachar: "hire". These people are great burden bearers.

Their meek and quiet spirits enjoy patient, self-sacrificing toil

in the service of others. They are willing to work hard now to

enjoy a more complete rest later, especially if the rest provided

is more for the benefit of others. These ones are very hardy and

laborious, enjoying to do the "dirty work", and delighting to bear

what others consider heavy responsibilities. Issacharites are able

to discern what kind of work needs to be done in order to

accomplish a certain goal, and they are very good at planning and

executing that work. They are persistent toward the goal, and will

be determined to move steadily forward in the face of opposition

or difficulties. They may not move things along quickly, but they

are unstoppable and undeflectable, keeping the goal, and the rest

for others that lies beyond it clearly in focus.


The "great woman of Shunem" (2 Kings 4:8) worked hard in order to

provide rest to God's servants. Tola (Judges 10:1), gave Israel

rest under his rule. Issacharites are in fact so willing to serve

others that they can easily be made to serve the cause of evil!

But when converted, they will begin to serve God immediately, even

though some things still need to be worked out.


9.      Zebulun: "Dwelling". Literally, "Being with," or "united,"

but not quite in the same sense as Levi's "joined." These people

seem to be blessed with above average intelligence and may be good

at business, arts, or literature. They are the quiet thinker

type; hospitable, cordial, maybe a little formal, but able to meet

strangers easily and build friendships. They have a love of

system, order, and uniformity while allowing for "artistically

systematized" variety. They are loyal, dutiful, and pay careful

attention to detail, and are generally retiring and keep a low

profile, unless a crisis arises, then they are willing to risk

all, even overkill preparations (1 Chronicles 12:33), in order to

insure the victory beyond all possibility of defeat, and to

restore harmony and unity. Similar to Naphtali, they prefer to be

part of a group and have a determined "victory or death" attitude

in an emergency (Judges 5:18).


10.     Joseph: "Adding". He has the well-earned privilege of

having the name of one of his sons added above a gate on the New

Jerusalem in addition to his own. Similar to his brother Judah,

Joseph valued strict integrity, honesty, and sincerity. Being

raised as his father's "pet" though, he was in danger of becoming

prideful and arrogant, but humility came as an acquired attribute

as he became able to discern God's hand in his trials and adverse

situations. Then he exhibited a noble self-discipline based on

zeal for God's honor. Joseph harbored no resentment toward his

brothers for the evil treatment he received from them, and other

members of this tribe will also, by means of Godly faith and trust

(more than by rigorous Levitical self-discipline), be able to keep

cool when opposed or oppressed.


11.     Benjamin: "Son of the right hand," was originally named

Ben-o-ni by his mother which means "Son of my sorrow", which aptly

describes the unconverted Benjamite nature. The tribe was famous

for being ambidextrous and left-handed, and had notable eye-hand

coordination. (Judges 20:16). When unconverted, the tribe was

compared to a ravening wolf, a fierce predator that is most

efficient at causing sorrow when it runs in a "pack." Right or

wrong (usually), the Benjamites stuck together. Similar to Gad and

Dan, they were self-willed, arrogant, proud, rapacious, warlike,

revengeful, sullen, petulant, quick-tempered, and deceptive. They

were almost exterminated in a civil war that they themselves

caused (Judges 20), and probably the most outstanding example of

wolflike behavior was that of king Saul in his relentless pursuit

and cruelty toward David.


All this looks pretty bad for Benjamites today, but when

converted, the same forcefulness of character is used to benefit,

help, aid, and particularly, to shield and protect others. The

"pack attack" attitude is also replaced by an independent

humility. Examples: Ehud (Judges 3), delivered and judged Israel.

Mordecai (in the book of Esther), became the king's "man of my

right-hand", as he shielded and protected Esther, the king, and

all the Jewish nation from a universal death decree.


Benjamin's relationship to Jesus as a type of Christ's human

experience is marked. Both were born in Bethlehem (Gen. 35:16-19),

originally as "a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief" (Isa.

53:3), and afterward to sit "on the right hand of the throne of

the Majesty in the heavens" (Heb.8:1). Thus both names given to

Benjamin--the "son of sorrow", and the "son of the right hand"--

apply to Jesus.


The apostle Paul, undeniably God's "right-hand-man" during the

first century of the Christian Church, turned from fierce

persecutor to ambassador for Christ to the Gentile world, ready

and willing to endure all manner of persecutions and privations

that others may hear of the good news of God's shielding and

protecting power against eternal death. Incidentally, he caught

some of his converts with "craft" and "guile." (2 Corinthians



12.     Manasseh: "Forgetting", in the sense of the troubles of

the past. Usually meek, mild-mannered, flexible, humble,

conciliatory, and unobtrusive, Manassites do not seem very

intellectual, calculating, or far-sighted regarding cause/effect

relationships. Perhaps this is the reason they do not generally

seek leadership roles, however, they are quite zealous for God's

cause and if the needs of the cause clearly require it they will

readily come out of the shadows of their traditional supporting

roles and aggressively prosecute the work. The most notable

character in Scripture from this tribe was Gideon (Judges 6), who

although seemed to need quite a bit of coaxing in order to get him

going, once convinced that God was right there with him to hold

him up, plunged boldly ahead to fulfill God's will.


                        The Lost Tribes


Both tribes were powerful and numerous, but though they were living

in the same environment as the other tribes, failed to perfect a Christian



Ephraim: "fruitful". This tribe bore plenty of fruit, but

unfortunately, it wasn't good. They had a great desire for fame,

wealth, and pleasure, and were lacking in faith that God's cause

would be victorious. They were sensitive, suspicious, envious, and

jealous when others seemed to be given preferential treatment, or

had more blessings or possessions. They often felt slighted,

ignored, unrecognized, and unhonored. They were haughty, arrogant,

covetous, and idolatrous (same thing, Eph. 5:5). They did not

really appreciate the things of God or the companionship of God's

people, and they allowed themselves to become mixed with worldly

people and interests, diluted in their religious experience, and

finally were characterized as "a cake not turned" (Hosea 7:8), or

"half-baked", so to speak.


As a tribe, the name of Ephraim will not appear above one of the

gates of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, but fortunately we are

not saved in groups and there are recorded in the Scripture

records some Ephraimites who were a blessing to others, namely

Joshua, Samuel, and a certain unnamed benevolent Ephraimite in

Judges 19:16-19.


Dan: "judging". This lost tribe was articulate, artistic,

intellectual, and discerning, which fitted them for their calling

as God's judges for the nation, but sadly, they were also

attracted toward wealth, self-indulgence, and idolatry (Judges

18:31). They used their discerning powers for faultfinding rather

than looking for the good in others. They were sly, backbiting,

and cruel (Judges 17 & 18). Wise as a serpent, and just as deadly,

they were characterized as a young lion leaping out from an unseen

hiding place upon his victim. (Genesis 49:16-17; Deuteronomy



The only noted (or notorious) Danite in the Scriptures is Samson.

Chosen as God's judge and deliverer of his nation, his violent,

uncontrolled passions and lusts only got him in a lot of trouble,

and eventually cost him his life (Judges 13-16).





The name which God will give to each of the redeemed will convey

to each person God's knowledge of his character, "...a new name

written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it" (Rev.

2:17). Also, the redeemed will bear names which will designate

them as belonging exclusively to God. "Him that overcometh...I

will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city

of My God, which is New Jerusalem...and I will write upon him My

new name." (Rev. 3:12).


These character names were "written in the book of life from the

foundation of the world." (Rev. 17:8). Each one must permit God

to fit him to obtain the character expressed in the meaning of the

"new name." God does not predestinate persons, but He does

predestinate Character. The privilege that each of us has is to

co-operate with God in obtaining the character which He has

predestinated to measure up to the meaning of the name written for

us in the book of life from the beginning of the world. Amen!