Revelation 7:4

The number of the sealed (ton ariqmon twn espragismenwn). Accusative case object of hkousa and genitive of the perfect passive articular participle of spragizw. He did not see the sealing or count them himself, but only heard. A hundred and forty and four thousand (ekaton tesserakonta tessare ciliade). Symbolical, of course, and not meant to be a complete number of the sealed (or saved) even in that generation, let alone for all time. The number connotes perfection (Alford), 12x12x1000 = a hundred and forty-four thousands (ciliade, Revelation 5:11 ). Nominative absolute, not agreeing in case either with ariqmon (accusative) or espragismenwn (genitive). So as to the case of espragismenoi. Out of every tribe of the children of Israel (ek pash pulh uiwn Israhl). There are two opposite views here, one taking the sealed as referring only to Jews (either actual Jews as a remnant or just Jewish Christians), the other including Gentiles as well as Jewish Christians, that is the true Israel as in Revelation 2:9 ; Revelation 3:9 and like Paul in Galatians and Romans. This is the more probable view and it takes the twelve tribes in a spiritual sense. But in either view there remains the difficulty about names of the tribes. The list is not geographical, since Levi is included, but Dan is omitted and Manasseh put in his place, though he as the son of Joseph is included in Joseph. Irenaeus suggested that Antichrist was expected to come from the tribe of Dan and hence the omission here. There are various lists of the tribes in the O.T. ( Genesis 35:22 ; Genesis 46:8 ; Exodus 1:1 ; Numbers 1:2 ; Numbers 13:4 ; Numbers 26:34 ; Deuteronomy 27:11 ; Deuteronomy 33:6 Jos 13-22; Jud 5; 1Ch 2-8; 1 Chronicles 12:24 ; 1 Chronicles 27:16 ; Eze 48) and given in various orders. In 1 Chronicles 7:12 both Dan and Zebulon are omitted. Joseph is given here in place of Ephraim. The distribution is equal (12,000) to each tribe.