Thank you for your good question. For those unfamiliar with Revelation 7, it may be helpful to provide some context. Those of us who have trusted Christ as our Savior are waiting for His return for us at any moment. That event is known by Christians as the Rapture, meaning that believers in Christ will be raptured to meet our Savior in the air and go to heaven. After the Rapture the Judgment Seat of Christ will take place. The Lord will reward believers for things that we did that were pleasing to Him. How gracious He is to reward us for things that He gave us the strength to do!

After the Judgment Seat of Christ there will be seven years of terrible trouble on this earth called the Tribulation, described in Revelation 6-19. Revelation 7 occurs during these seven years. 144,000 Jewish believers will be sealed or protected to serve God.  There is no reason given in Revelation 7 for the omission of EPHRAIM and DAN from the list of the tribes of Israel in that chapter. However, it is possible that the history of idolatry in those two tribes may explain why they were omitted.

We read in Judges 17:1, “And there was a man of mount EPHRAIM, whose name was Micah.” Verse 5 states, “And the man Micah had a shrine and he made an ephod and household idols and consecrated one of his sons, that he might become his priest (NASB).” The rest of Judges 17 describes how Micah also hired a Levite from Bethlehem-judah to be his priest. Judges 18 describes how the tribe of DAN was migrating and came to the house of Micah. They convinced the Levite priest to come with them, bring the idols, and be a priest for the tribe of DAN.

The tribe of DAN killed the people in the city of Laish, burned the city with fire, and built their own city. We read in Judges 18:29-31, “They called the name of the city DAN, after the name of DAN their father who was born in Israel; however, the name of the city formerly was Laish. The sons of DAN set up for themselves the graven image; and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of the DANITES until the day of the captivity of the land. So they set up for themselves Micah’s graven image which he had made, all the time that the house of God was at Shiloh” (NASB).

We read in Judges 17:6, “In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” The fact that there was no king in Israel is also mentioned in Judges 18:1 and 19:1. Similarly, we read in Judges 21:25, “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” This is the last verse of the book of Judges. In the first verse of the next book, Ruth, we learn that the story of Ruth occurs during the time when the judges ruled. The book of Ruth describes the beautiful love story of Ruth and Boaz, who would eventually marry and have a son named Obed. Obed was the grandfather of David, who would be a godly king of Israel. Christ is a descendant of David and David is a picture of Christ. In the book of Judges there was no king, and every man did what was right in his own eyes, resulting in idolatry. Then we have the book of Ruth that introduces the grandfather of David, reminding us that a godly king was coming.

There appears to be some parallels that can be drawn between Judges 17:6, 21:25, and Revelation 7. During the Tribulation period the Lord Jesus Christ will not yet have arrived on earth to set up His earthly kingdom, just as there was no king in Israel in the book of Judges. The Lord Jesus WILL set up His earthly kingdom at the end of those seven years. Even today we can see that most people do not recognize that the Lord Jesus Christ “…is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (1 Timothy 6:15). However, He WILL COME to this earth at the end of the Tribulation and reign in righteousness. The Lord tells us in Isaiah 45:23, “I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW, every tongue shall swear.” Idol worship will permanently end in Israel during His kingdom. The Lord says in Ezekiel 37:23, “Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God.” The Lord tells us in Isaiah 42:8, “I am the LORD: that is my name: and MY GLORY WILL I NOT GIVE TO ANOTHER, NEITHER MY PRAISE TO GRAVEN IMAGES.”

There is a reason for every part of God’s Word. Part of the omission of EPHRAIM and DAN from Revelation 7 may be to remind us that no matter how lawless things get on earth, the King of kings is coming after the Tribulation. He will judge this world in righteousness and every knee will bow to Him. An idol can be anything that comes between us and God. May the Lord search our hearts, help us to eliminate any idols from our lives, and give all the glory to our Lord Jesus Christ.  (DJ)  (563.3)