Poole on Revelation 7:5-8: The 144,000 (Part 2)

Verse 5:[1] 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.


Verse 6:[2] Of the tribe of Aser were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthalim were sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manasses were sealed twelve thousand.


Verse 7:[3] 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.


Verse 8:[4] 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.



[Out of the tribe of Judah twelve thousand] The number twelve always gave much pleasure to the Jews on account of the offspring of Jacob. Therefore, the twelve wells of Elim, Exodus 15:27; the twelve columns around the altar of Moses, Exodus 24:4; the twelve loaves προθέσεως, of showbread, Leviticus 24:5; the twelve gems on the breastplate of the High Priest, Exodus 28:21; the same number of stones in the Jordan, Joshua 4:2, 5; sacrifices often in the same number, Numbers 7; 29; and many instruments of the Temple, Numbers 7:84, 86; the twelve Prefects by Solomon, 1 Kings 4:7; under the Brazen Sea twelve oxen, 1 Kings 7:25; on the throne of Solomon were standing twelve Lions, 1 Kings 10:20; the twelve cubits of the altar with respect to lenth, the same with respect to width, Ezekiel 43:16. There were twelve sons of Jacob: but where it is treated of successors, the Levites are omitted, and from Joseph there are two lines, Ephraim, and Manasseh, according to the testament of Jacob; which also here is observed. But here Levi is reckoned, for in Christ this Tribe has an equal right with the others (Grotius). [But some things here are to be asked:] Question 1: Why is the number out of the individual tribes equal here, one of which nevertheless far surpassed the other with respect to the number of men? Response 1: Because God chose the Israelites, not because of themselves, but because of their fathers, the holy Patriarchs, Romans 11:28, to whom this pertains no more than that (Ribera). 2. Here he had regard to the twelve Apostles, the preachers of the Gospel, through whom the Jews came to be saved, etc. (Pererius out of Andreas Cæsarius); no less grace was present to one of them than to another, but to each complete grace for the sealing of the elect (Cluverus out of Andreas Cæsarius). 3. God wished to show that He was ἀπροσωπολήπτην, without respect of persons, towards all believers, Romans 4:12, and that there was a dissimilar condition of Israel carnal (in which one tribe stood out before another) and spiritual (Cluverus); and that His will and predisposition was equal toward His Church, of whatever order it might be, either of time or number (Gravius). Question 2: Why did not John preserve here the right order of the Tribes (Pererius)? Diverse is the method of enumeration, Genesis 29; 35; 46; 49 (Cluverus); but here it is altogether diverse from the others and singular (Cluverus, similarly Mede): neither is the order of birth preserved here, nor of the dignity of pare