Hidden Message in the Names of the 12 Tribes

Genesis 29:32–30:24, The Scriptures record that the gospel was preached not only to the first century believers, but to ancient Israel (Heb 4:2), as well the Patriarchs (Gal 3:8). Here is another example of this in the meanings of the names of the twelve sons of Jacob. They are: Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin (who was not born until Gen 35:18). Translated their names mean:

  • Reuben/“See, a Son,” (this points to Yeshua).
  • Simeon/“Hearing” (hear the Son or gospel/good news).
  • Levi/“Joined” (referring to the union by which the Set-Apart Spirit makes us one with the Son through the hearing of the gospel).
  • Judah/“Praise” (the response of the redeemed upon being joined to Yeshua and becoming regenerated spiritually or born from above).
  • Dan/“Judgment” (the believer, though worthy of judgment for his sin, has passed from judgment to life through the atoning blood of Yeshua.
  • Naphtali/“Wrestling” (this speaks of the believer’s life as he struggles against the world, flesh and the devil endeavoring to walk righteously).
  • Gad/“Troop, Company” (this speaks of the fellowship of believers in the household of faith), the result of fellowship is Asher/“Happiness.”
  • Issachar/“Hire” (once a part of the spiritual body of believers, one is equipped for works of service in advancing the kingdom of Elohim as a bondservant).
  • Zebulun/“Dwelling, Exalt, Honor” (we are to occupy until Yeshua comes again while we honor and exalt him before the Gentiles.
  • Joseph/“Adding(can refer to adding to the body of believers in Yeshua through outreach or to rewards in YHVH’s eternal kingdom for a job well done laboring in YHVH’s spiritual field).
  • Benjamin/“Son of My Right Hand” (a reference to Yeshua who sits at the right hand of YHVH and to believers who are seated with Yeshua in heavenly places, by faith).

Or another way to look at it is this:

  • Judah means “Now I will praise YHVH.” (Gen 29:35)
  • Reuben means “Surely YHVH has looked upon my affliction.” (Gen 29:32)
  • Gad means “What good fortune.” (Gen 30:11)
  • Asher means “Happy am I.” (Gen 30:13)
  • Naphtali means With great wrestlings have I wrestled.” (Gen 30:8)
  • Manasseh means “For Elohim [said he], ‘has made me foreget all my toil.’” (Gen 41:51)
  • Simeon means “ Because YHVH has heard that I was hated.” (Gen 29:33)
  • Levi means “ Now this time will my husband be joined to me.” (Gen 29:34)
  • Issachar means “Elohim has given me my wages.” (Gen 30:18)
  • Zebulon means “Elohim has endowed me with a good gift, now my husband will dwell with me.” (Gen 30:20)
  • Joseph means “YHVH shall add to me.” (Gen 30:24)
  • Benjamin means “You shall have this son. (Gen 35:17–18)

Combined the names tell the following story: Now will I praise YHVH. Surely YHVH has looked upon my affliction. What good fortune. Happy am I. With great wrestlings have I wrestled and I have prevailed. For Elohim has made me forget all my toil because YHVH has heard that I was hated. Now this time will my husband be joined unto me. Elohim has given me my wages. Elohim has endowed me with a good gift. Now my husband will dwell with me. YHVH shall add to me. You shall have this son.

It starts with Yeshua and ends with him. He is the Aleph and the Tav (or the Alpha and Omega), the Beginning and the End, the Author and Finisher of our faith! Give him glory! Pause and reflect on these names. Is it possible that the mind of man could have cleverly contrived these names and their order about 1800 years before the birth of Yeshua?

Where are you in this prophetic scenario? In your spiritual walk have you passed through the reality of each of the twelve steps? Perhaps this is the world’s original “twelve-step program”!


48 thoughts on “Hidden Message in the Names of the 12 Tribes

  1. Pingback: From the Archives: The Gospel Message in the Names of the 12 Tribes | Hoshana Rabbah Blog

  2. Why are there thirteen tribes including Manasseh and only twelve gates in the celestial city? Which tribe does not have a gate? Which gate do the saved Gentiles enter?

    • My guess is that the Ephraim and Manasseh combine into one tribe to become the tribe of Joseph making 12 tribes again. Some might disagree with this and quote Rev 7:5–8 where the tribe of Dan is missing and Manasseh is mentioned instead. I’ve heard speculations about why Dan is missing, but nothing that is beyond the realm of human speculation. Maybe someone out there has an answer from the Scriptures to these questions.

      • Genesis 2:7 So the LORD God said to the serpent: because you have done this, you are cursed more than all the cattle and more than all the beast og the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shalleat the dust all the days of your life (encounter complete annihilation).

        Isaiah 14:20 You will not be joined with them in burial because you have destroyed your land and slain your people. The brood of evildoers shall never be named.

      • Dan’s name means “to judge”. Could it be that Dan is left out to get our attention? (attention to what?) And what does Dan mean? God is telling us that we are to judge the meanings of all the other names to get the full message that God desired to impart to the spiritual nation of Israel, the Israel of God.

      • 1 Kings 12: 25-33. Beth-el is located within the region of the Tribe of Ephriam. It is both Dan and Ephriam that have been blotted out of Rev. 7 due to their apostate worship

      • Actually, Ephraim is not blotted out in Revelation 7. It along with its sister tribe, Manasseh, is included in the tribe of Joseph. If Ephraim (the Christian church) is blotted out, then none of us have any salvation hope and the Ezekiel 37 two sticks prophecy is a lie along with many other OT prophecies about the end times regathering of the house of Israel/Ephraim/Samaria. And what did Yeshua mean when he talked about regathering the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matt 15:24; 10:6)? The house of Israel is biblically contextually more than just the tribe of Judah.

      • It’s because all judgment has been handed over to yeshua and not the tribe of Dan.

    • If only you can assemble the Twelve high walls, gates, trees and towers to the four wings of heaven as highlighted in Revelations, divide them into three because they are hidden into three measures forming three heavens. They also represent the three sons or tents of Noah that populated the earth today (earthly Jerusalem symbolically), Shem, Japheth and Ham: these tents embodies the Israelites (Asher (l AM), Joseph fruit of Abraham and Judah his only begotten Seed), Japheth/Esau/Dan (Assyrians/Babylonians) and Ham/Ishmael (Reuben/Egyptians ).

    • Manasseh is shared his portion (Landmark) with Naphtali/Shechem (Nimrod) the firstborn of Hamath (Ham) the Ammonite that saw the nakedness of Dinah the daughter of Jacob. These are similitudes dramatized with different characters.

    • The gate of Asher (Ehyeh ASHER Ehyeh), bread from Asher shall yield royal dainties and let Asher be accepted by hid brethren.

      • Reuben, do you know what name you wrote? Ancient Hebrew, a dead language, had no vowel points, but translators say this is the self given name of our Creator. Moses received a demonstration of this name, the burning Bush. Asher means flame above the ashes, and refers to refinement thru persecution. Ofcourse those who rely on our Creator when tested, continue to have abundant life.

    • Once you enter covenant, (“saved”) & maintain your obedience by adherence to Torah you are no longer a gentile but rather an Israelite. You have been grafted in to the Olive tree. Be confident we shall be directed as to which gate we shall enter through.

    • The tribe of Dan lost their inheritance Amos 8:14 because they swore by other gods which is idolatry. Read Revelation 7:4-8 notice in verse 8 the tribe of Ephraim is actually referred to as the tribe of Joseph.

      • Mark, the prophet Ezekiel doesn’t agree with you on the fate of the tribe of Dan in his prophetic description of the millennial temple in Jerusalem. Please consider the following from my Bible commentary notes on Revelation 7:4–8 and Matthew 16:13):

        Revelation 7:5–8, The 12 tribes of Israel. Why is the tribe of Dan not mentioned? (See notes at Matt 16:13.) It is also interesting to note the Ezekiel in his description of the apportioning of the Promised Land to the 12 tribes during, presumably, the millennial period, mentions the tribe of Dan (Ezek 48:1–2) and he even has a gate in the New Jerusalem name for him (Ezek 48:32). Obviously despite Dan’s apostasy, YHVH still has a loving heart for his lost and scattered children and is able to redeem them from the spiritual darkness in which they have been trapped.

        Matthew 16:13, 18, Caesarea Philippi…gates of hell. This Roman city (also known as Caesarea Paneas) was located at the southwest base of Mount Hermon. After the death of Herod, and during the rule of the Roman procurators and up to the time of the Jewish revolt, Caesarea became the capital and residence of the rulers (Golden Jerusalem, by Menashe Har-El, p. 52). It was here that the ancients built temples to various deities. The heathens typically built altars and temples on high places, which they considered to be gateways or portals to heaven, and Mount Hermon was the highest high place in the entire region with an elevation of 9,232 feet above sea level. At this place, the Greeks worshipped their god Pan. In the same area at the base of Hermon, the Canaanites worshipped Baalgad (Josh 13:5; cp. Josh 11:17).
        It is interesting to note that according to the modern Book of Enoch touting to be the one referred to in the Bible, purportedly 200 fallen angels descended upon Mount Hermon and there made a pact to seduce the beautiful daughters of men the result of which, allegedly, were the nephilim or giants (Enoch 7:1–11), thus corrupting the genetics of the human race. These hybrids were destroyed in the flood. These demons apparently taught their offspring sorcery and incantations (v. 10).
        It is at Caesarea Philippi that Yeshua proclaimed his messiahship, as a prophetic declaration of war or a form of spiritual warfare against Satan and his demons at the very spot the heathen demon worshippers venerated as their highest high place.
        Moreover, some biblical scholars believe that Yeshua’s transfiguration occurred on Mount Hermon, since the account of this event occurs immediately afterwards in Matthew chapter 17. At that event, the three disciples with Yeshua received a vision of his glorious appearance, which was another finger in the eye of the devil. HIs second coming is when Yeshua will destroy the devil’s kingdom and and capture him and confine him in chains to the abyss.
        The tribe of Dan settled at the foot of Mount Hermon in the area of Tel Dan where they erected a pagan temple dedicated to golden calf worship. Jacob in his final prophecy to his sons connects Dan to a serpent (a biblical metaphor for Satan). Additionally, Moses prophesies that Dan would be a lions whelp or offspring who would inhabit Bashan, which is an area to Mount Hermon in the north (Deut 33:22; see notes on this verse). Some Bible researchers speculate that when these two prophecies are combined, it is revealed that Dan will be the serpents seed and from him will come the false, demon-inspired antichrist who claims to be the lion of Judah. Perhaps this is why the tribe of Dan isn’t mentioned in Rev 7, since this tribe has defected to Satan.
        It is also interesting to note that at this spot Yeshua proclaimed that the gates of hell would not prevail against his saints (v. 18). If Caesarea Philippi was or is a portal to the demonic underworld, as some believe, then this could be a portal through which the end time demons will emerge from the bottomless pit in the last days to torment men as part of YHVH’s end time judgments as John writes about in Rev 9:1–11. Whatever the case may be, it is encouraging to have Yeshua’s assurance that the end times saints will have nothing to fear from the hellish demonic spirits that will be roaming the earth seeking to kill, steel and destroy just before his second coming. Moreover, YHVH promises in Revelation 9:4 that his saints who have his seal on their foreheads will be protected from the unleased demonic hordes that will torment the earth in the end times.

    • Esau. But Yeshua said he is only coming back for his people (children of isreal) an all the other nations were spiddle.
      Question does anyone know what color God an Yeshua is?

      • Esau… Yeshua is coming back for His Bride which is all those who have been saved and believe on Him. The Bride is the church from every nation around the world.

      • If the every Christian everywhere is the bride, then three questions must be asked: 1) Who are the tares in Yeshua’s wheat and tares parable? 2) Who are the foolish virgins in Yeshua’s wise and foolish virgins parable? 3) Who are those who he said will be least in his kingdom in Matthew 5:19? Perhaps you may want to rethink the idea that everyone everywhere who claims to be a Christian will automatically occupy the highest position of reward and authority in Yeshua’s coming kingdom.

    • When you come under the blood of Yeshua, you’re no longer a Gentile, but now a grafted in, redeemed Israelite (Eph 2:11-19; Rom 11:11-27). That’s why there’s no Gentile Gate in the New Jerusalem. Gentiles won’t be there. For additional clarity on this, watch my YouTube video entitled “The One New Man” or read my article on our website by the same title at http://www.hoshanarabbah.org/pdfs/israel101.pdf. That’ll clarify everything and help you to embrace your correct spiritual identity, and to view yourself how YHVH views you. It’s time to toss out the unbiblical, dare I say, racist, church viewpoints on this subject and receive and believe the truth of the Bible.

      • Thanks again, Brother Natan. I agree with what you have written. Could you comment on what I have previously written? Thanks

        The Seed 0f Abraham
        The whole church (including some Messianic believers) seems to be overlooking, or at least misdefining the One New Man of Colossians. At the same time there seems to be some confusion about the scripture that says all Israel will be saved. Is “all Israel” defined in the context of One New Man, that is, the grafted-in, broken-off branches, both wild (Gentile) and natural (Jew), described in the Book of Romans? I would think so. “All” Israel can only be construed to be those who come to the Father through the Son. All Israel is the one new man, the seed of Abraham and more than an Israelite, a sort of a super chosen, spiritual species. You might say the natural seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were God’s chosen place markets awaiting the appearance of the one new man. There will however in the latter days be a tremendous harvest of Israel, the broken-off, natural branches. The seed of Abraham, the grafted-in Jew (as a generic word for those descended from the patriarch Israel) and Gentile will enter thru one of the twelve gates of the celestial city. There is no thirteenth gate for the believing Gentile. He is either grafted-in or not. God will place each of these seeds of Abraham in the appropriate tribe for entry into the City of God.

        Apostle Paul had a burden for the broken-off, natural branches and so should we (Jew and Greek) who are grafted-in, but they are just that–broken-off, and will only be grafted in through Yeshua. The Psalmist says:
        Oh, that My people would listen to Me,
        That Israel would walk in My ways!
        I would soon subdue their enemies,
        And turn My hand against their adversaries.
        The haters of the LORD would pretend submission to Him,
        But their fate would endure forever.
        He would have fed them also with the finest of wheat;
        And with honey from the rock I would have satisfied you. ”
        Psalms 81:13-16 (NKJV)
        As I understand the predominant attitude in Israel today is a legally prescribed submission to sabbath and the feasts, but at best only a tolerance for the deeper things of God.

        God’s offer is to Israel the people, not Israel the national identity. I believe God is not in to nations as such (including the U.S.). The Hebrew word for nation is usually “gowy” (or goyim) which to me implies a people group as opposed to a corporately defined, geographic entity. Strong’s says it is generally translated as nation, but the second meaning is people. If you consider “nation” not as an entity, but a collective noun to describe only the inhabitants then it is appropriate.

        God does specifically define the boundaries of the land mass Israel which he has set aside from all the earth. He will physically rule and reign thru his son, Yeshua, in his millennial tenure from this chosen site. As I read the scripture God does not recognize other land masses, i.e. geographically defined nations, but does often refer to people groups. All people groups will come to God’s chosen, defined land mass, Israel, specifically Jerusalem, and worship King Yeshua.

        The grafted-in branches: Jew and Greek, One New Man, the Bride of Yeshua, the seed of Abraham, all Israel will rule and reign with Yeshua exclusively from the land mass Israel for one thousand years.

      • Yeshua is a dwelling tent not mere words, the Word became flesh and dwelt with us.

  3. The 12 tribes of Israel established… Before Jacob (Israel) died, he passed on the “birthright blessings” to his grandsons, who were named Ephraim and Manasseh. Israel gave prophetic blessings that were to be fulfilled in a time called “the latter days” to all 12 of his sons (Genesis 49:1). In Genesis 48:16 Israel blessed both Ephraim and Manasseh simultaneously with the words “let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” Israel decreed that his own name, “Israel”… and the name of his own father, “Isaac,” would be placed upon the descendants of Ephraim and Manasseh, the two sons of Joseph, who were to each become a distinct tribe among Israel’s sons (Genesis 48:5). In doing this, Israel was giving Joseph a “double portion” among the 12 tribes of Israel.

    Israel foretold in Genesis 48:19 that while the descendants of Manasseh would become a “great” people (or nation), the descendants of Ephraim would become a “multitude of nations.”

    Since Joseph was expanded into two tribes, this meant that there would now be 13 tribes of Israel, although they were often still known as “the 12 tribes of Israel” because the priestly tribe, the Levites, did not receive a territorial inheritance in the Promised Land. In the blessings recorded in Genesis 49, Israel gave prophecies for each of the tribes named after his 12 sons.

  4. This is a profound revelation and further proof that God is Beyond The Combined Greatness of all of Man’s Imagination.

  5. I must suppose that the tribe of Dan is not mentioned because at that time the earth and its people are being judged. “In many counselors there is safety” …Does not God gather judges to dispense judgement?

    The names of Jacobs sons are evidence of the whole gamut of human experience, and the description of our expected portion. Their names are often used by the prophets as a shorthand for their meaning: just as one example: Zech 9:10.

    I often read such symbolic substitution into the names “Jerusalem” and “Zion”, since a revelation to me that Jerusalem, means “Worthy Peace”, or “the peace that is just and lasting”, and Zion to mean “Hope”, Mount Zion meaning “High Holy Hope”

    These conventions, along with the names of the tribes, constitute a key to unlock the message of salvation in the major and minor prophets. I am glad to find that there are those who have thought them worthy of study! Shalom!

  6. The meanings of the twelve tribes are awesome. In the book of Revelation talks about these 144,000 coming out of the 12 tribes of Israel (Jacob). I heard the founder many years ago at this bible college said ” if you are not a Jew then, the bible does not belong to you, unless you have a Jew (Yeshua) inside of you” God has chosen this special people having these special attributes within them (the blessings of Jacob and their meanings of each tribe).

  7. Thank you for sharing! I’m so excited to learn more I have a Question so why is everybody calling Yeshua by Jesus instead of Yeshua callhamashiach Yahweh could you explain I was told that Jesus is not his real true name because you Yeshua it’s Jewish so how could he have a Greek or English name I looked it up on the internet plus I spoken with somebody about this can you put your thoughts on this please

    • I don’t know why the world doesn’t call Yeshua by his Hebrew name. The world calls Satan by his Hebrew name. Personally, I think it’s a satanic plot to hide the real name of the Messiah. In English, we have the Hebrew name Joshua, which is very similar to Yeshua. Even that would be better than Jesus, in my opinion, since it’s closer to to his original and real Hebrew name. Nevertheless, there is still great power even in the name Jesus to heal the sick, save the lost and to send demons fleeing! This is all very interesting, curious and amazing to me.

  8. God s kingdom is near and we are the last generatiion.Prepare for the harvest. Praise be to God King of Kings.now on forever. Pastor JC Alatorre

      • Not necessarily. It all depends on how one defines “we”. If you’re talking about the saints whose names are written in the Lambs book of life, yes. If you’re talking about all of humanity, the answer is emphatically no! Not all humans are sons of Elohim. Yeshua and the apostles clearly teach against this idea. I will have more to say on this momentarily.

  9. I now realized that Isaachar is my patternal tribe . I am of Mexican Hispanic descendance one of the ten lost tribe of Judah. Praise the Lord our God and the son Jesus Christ thru the Holy Spirit Amen.

  10. Revelation 7 v 1-8 talks of the 144 000 in a specific way and more characteristics of the 144 000 are found in Revelation 14 v 1-5 . This group has specific characteristics about them very different from the group of Revelation 7 v 9-13 regardless of this they are all found in heaven. Could the 144 000 be the saints we find in Matthew 27v52 described as the first fruits?

    • My guess is no since Rev 7, according to my understanding, is an end times prophecy. Moreover, Rev 7:2 indicates that these saints came from the four corners of the earth, not just the land of Israel or Jerusalem. Moreover, they were from all 12 tribes, not just the Jews who were primarily from the tribe of Judah who made up the majority of those living in the holy land in the first century.

      • Thanks for the reply, would you mind giving me a feedback to my bible study and the thoughts that i have come across in my stidies.

        What if its not the Israel tribe but Noahs generationbefore the tribe as we understand it now, I have studied the characteristics of the group and i have seen the likely hood that the 144 000 are closer to generation of Noah than the future generation at the end of the world..

        The world is going to be destroyed now for the second time, i believe at the destruction of the first Gods people were sealed, the likes of Enoch, Methuselah, with limited informatiion of all their names but Gods people were there as well.
        The group that resurrected with Jesus didnt see death but represent the first fruits that Christ resurrected with and that group left earth. Redeemed among men, and also as the first fruits what we find as the characteristics of the 144 000.
        The interpretation of the 12 names is the cry or the steps followed by all since the time of Adam and Eve and these steps start way before the floods after the fall of man.

        The world was only perfect before the flood, the 4 winds. The current world state morally and physically doesnt resemble anything close to winds being held. Meaning with all the strife going on could the winds have ben released already? Why did Jesus repeat that He comes as a thief if as christians peolple are waiting for some catastrophic events to happen, worse off than these ones. Ar e not our minds influenced by end of the world movies? if the world is hgoing to be that bad as in movies, why would it be that hs coming will be as a thief or as the days of Noah or Sodom and Gommorrah? I believe that the push of the winds being released in the future is the great mistake that will be fulfilled by His coming as thief

        Women in prophecy, book of revelation, has been defined as religion systems and before the flood there was no such a system, ..not defiled by women…Rev 14v4

      • Unless a house is built on a solid foundation, everything else built on it is not solid. Rev 7:5–8 lists the names of the 12 tribes of Israel, which the Bible says came from Jacob. I take what the Bible says literally here and not metaphorically otherwise I’m violating a fundamental principle of biblical interpretation. That rule says that unless Scripture clearly suggests otherwise, we are to take what it says literally and not metaphorically otherwise one can this the Word of Elohim to make it mean whatever we want it to mean. So, no, based on this, I cannot agree with your interpretation; it’s a little too sketchy and tenuous for me and violates some basic rules of biblical interpretation. Blessings.

  11. Why was Tribe of Dan omitted? Because in the Rachel’s strife to have a son, she offered up her handmaid Bilhah (much like Sarah). But all was not satisfying (because of her works and toil). Dan name = Judge and since God is now fulfilling His Covenant with Israel and not judging them anymore Dan gets removed and replaced with Manasseh (For Elohim, has made me forget all my toil Gen.41:51)

  12. Thankiu Natan for such a great revelation ,but my question is Israelites who are not born again but lives according to the word of God are they also going to heaven, because yeshua say I am the way, Truth and Life.

  13. Hi Natan:

    I’ve been researching the Tribe of Dan for quite sometime. Via the Ruach Elohim, I know why Dan is “missing” from the Book of Revelations. Is there a way we can communicate in private?

    • You can find our contact info at our website (www.hoshanarabbah.org). As to why Dan is missing in Revelation, I have no divine revelation on this, only speculation. Thus, I doubt I can be of much help to you. Beside, I’m not sure that it matters, since if one is “in Messiah” then it doesn’t really matter what tribe one is in, since one is guaranteed entrance into the New Jerusalem through Messiah since one’s name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.


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