Who are the beasts of Revelation seen surrounding the Throne of God anyway? Here is a quote from one of the greatest minds ever, Sir Issac Newton, regarding the Lion, the Man, the Ox and the Eagle:
"And in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four Beasts full of eyes before and behind: that is, one Beast before the throne and one behind it, appeared to John as in the midst of the throne, and one on either side in the circle about it, to represent by the multitude of their eyes the people standing in the four sides of the peoples court. And the first Beast was like a lion, and the second was like a calf, and the third had the face of a man, and the fourth was like a flying eagle. The People of Israel in the wilderness encamped round about the tabernacle, and on the east side were three tribes under the standard of Judah, on the west were three tribes under the standard of Ephraim, on the south were three tribes under the standard of Reuben, and on the north were three tribes under the standard of Dan."
And the standard of Judah was a Lion, that of Ephraim an Ox, that of Reuben a Man, and that of Dan an Eagle. Whence were framed the hieroglyphics, of Cherubims and Seraphims, whose wings and many eyes represent the people of Israel. A Cherubim had one body with four faces, the faces of a Lion, an Ox, a Man, and an Eagle, looking to the four winds of heaven, without turning about, as in Ezekiel’s vision, chap. i. And four Seraphims had the same four faces with four bodies, one face to every body."
"The four Beasts are therefore four Seraphims standing in the four sides of the peoples court; the first in the eastern side with the head of a Lion, the second in the western side with the head of an Ox, the third in the southern side with the head of a Man, the fourth in the northern side with the head of an Eagle: and all four signify together the twelve tribes of Israel, out of whom  the hundred forty and four thousand were sealed, And the four Beasts had each of them six wings, two to a tribe, in all twenty and four wings, answering to the twenty and four stations of the people. And they were full of eyes within, or under their wings. And they rest not day and night, or at the morning and evening-sacrifices, saying, holy, holy, holy Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.
These animals are therefore the Seraphims, which appeared to Isaiah in a vision like this of the Apocalypse [Isa. vi.]. For there also the Lord sat upon a throne in the temple; and the Seraphims each with six wings cried, Holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts. And when those animals give glory and honour and thanks to him that sitteth upon the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, the four and twenty Elders go into the Temple, and there fall down before him that sitteth on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
At the morning and evening-sacrifices, so soon as the sacrifice was laid upon the Altar, and the drink-offering began to be poured out, the trumpets sounded, and the Levites sang by course three times; and every time when the trumpets sounded, the people fell down and worshiped. Three times therefore did the people worship: to express which number, the Beasts cry Holy, holy, holy; and the song being ended, the people prayed standing, till the solemnity was finished. In the mean time the Priests went into the Temple, and there fell down before him that sat upon the throne, and worshiped."
Newton perhaps one of the greatest scientific minds of all time is best known today for the "discovery of gravity", or perhaps for the fracture of visible light into the seven color spectrum, but in reality he spent most of his time writing about the Scriptures. His book, Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John (1733) was published six years after his death. This work was published by Newton's nephew Benjamin Smith.
From my Scripture studies I have learned that perhaps just as the ensigns of the four camps of Israel are unique, the four gospel writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are unique as all four Gospels together give a full picture of the Messiah. Looking at what Ezekiel, Isaiah, Zechariah and John said about the Lion, the Man, the Ox and the Eagle we know there are four faces to consider. We also know the ensigns for the four encampments were: Judah - Lion, Reuben - Man , Ephraim - Ox, Dan - Eagle. From a unique book titled The Gospel of Matthew by Chuck Missler, we learn more about the possibility of design of the encampment from an aerial view. Assuming the camps were aligned in shape and dimension to the Tabernacle, an interpretation of the volume of people in the camps is shown in the graphic above based on the wilderness census of Israel.
The Lamb is the ensign of the Savior as our sacrifice for sin. Perhaps the ensign of Dan which was originally the serpent on a pole, later became the eagle. This appears to be a foreshadow of the story of The Messiah as well. He came first to suffer on the stake lifted above the earth and he will return in the clouds as the Eagle.
Zechariah 9:16 And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they [shall be as] the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land.
Quoting the words of The Messiah himself:
John 3:14-18 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life...
The four ensigns seem to be a future reflection of the Savior and His people. Why else would John have seen all the eyes? The eyes of His people within the imagery of the ensigns praising him, the eternal one. Perhaps John heard a verse of the (currently unknown) Song of the Lamb.
Revelation 4:6 And before the throne [there was] a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, [were] four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast [was] like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast [was] like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about [him]; and [they were] full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honor and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Revelation 15:3 And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous [are] thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true [are] thy ways, thou King of saints.
Deuteronomy 31:30 And Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel the words of this song, until they were ended.
And I heard the number of them which were sealed: [and there were] sealed an hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel. Of the tribe of Judah [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Reuben [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Gad [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Asher [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Nepthali [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Manassah [were] sealed twelve thousand. 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. Of the tribe of Zebulon [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Joseph [were] sealed twelve thousand. Of the tribe of Benjamin [were] sealed twelve thousand. After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the angels stood round about the throne, and [about] the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshiped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, [be] unto our God for ever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. Revelation 7:4-17
Just as Ezekiel, Isaiah, Zechariah and John saw the four ensigns, the banners of Israel, the early believers understood the symbol of a lion - the King represented the Gospel of Matthew, and to Mark the ox - the servant, and to Luke the man - kinsman redeemer and to John the eagle - savior.
What can we conclude?
The Ensigns point toward the gospel story that our Messiah, the anointed one as King. He came first as a Suffering Servant, next He is presented in His Humanity as our Kinsman Redeemer and finally as the Savior. The four gospel writers, with their four separate records and four separate perspectives on The Messiah combine to form a complete understanding of Yeshua's (Jesus' Hebrew name) mission: He is King, Servant, Man, and God.
"And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth."Isaiah 11:12
This explains why Apostle John, like the Priest and Prophet Ezekiel, saw the same image of a creature that looked like a lion, man, ox and eagle in his writing of The Revelation?
The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him. And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness [was] about it, and out of the midst thereof as the color of amber, out of the midst of the fire. Also out of the midst thereof [came] the likeness of four living creatures. And this [was] their appearance; they had the likeness of a man. And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings. And their feet [were] straight feet; and the sole of their feet [was] like the sole of a calf's foot: and they sparkled like the color of burnished brass. And [they had] the hands of a man under their wings on their four sides; and they four had their faces and their wings. Their wings [were] joined one to another; they turned not when they went; they went every one straight forward. As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. Ezekiel 1:3-10
And the first beast [was] like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast [was] like a flying eagle. Revelation 4:7
The Cloud of Fire
Did you also notice that Ezekiel also saw the manifest presence of the glory of God, the 'Shekinah'? This is the same that appeared as a cloud of fire that led Israel up from Egypt through the wilderness when the Lord went before them "in a pillar of a cloud". This cloud was the symbol of his presence with his people. God also spoke to Moses through the 'Shekinah' fire out from the burning bush. Ezekiel incredibly also describes the amber color for us. Let's look at some references made to the fiery cloud during Israel's wilderness wanderings:
And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness [to them], but it gave light by night [to these]: so that the one came not near the other all the night. Exodus 14:20
Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD [was] upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys. Exodus 40:34-38
And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people. And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: [which] when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces. Leviticus 9:23-24
And it came to pass, when the congregation was gathered against Moses and against Aaron, that they looked toward the tabernacle of the congregation: and, behold, the cloud covered it, and the glory of the LORD appeared. Numbers 16:42.
We also see a description of His glory, this "cloud of fire" on the Mountain of Sinai:
And the glory of the LORD abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And the sight of the glory of the LORD [was] like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights. Exodus 24:16
The Four Faces
The four faces of the beast John saw, the lion, man, ox and eagle represent the ensigns, the same banners on the standards of the tribes of Israel that are to be seen by the nations at the great re-gathering. Let's look back at Moses' description:
The four faces of the beast John saw, the lion, man, ox and eagle represent the ensigns, the same banners on the standards of the tribes of Israel that are to be seen by the nations at the great re-gathering. Let's look back at Moses' description:
Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of their father's house: far off about the tabernacle of the congregation shall they pitch. Numbers 2:2
Isaiah tells us that the four ensigns seen in the wilderness journey represent another event - a future event, a regathering of all nations of peoples from all over the earth following the last blowing of the trumpet. In keeping with the requirement of two or three witnesses, the prophet Zechariah and Matthew also confirm the words of our Messiah about this future event.
And he shall send his angels with a great sound of His trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matthew 23:31
Matthew 24:31 And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly: None shall be weary nor stumble among them; none shall slumber nor sleep; neither shall the girdle of their loins be loosed, nor the latchet of their shoes be broken: Whose arrows [are] sharp, and all their bows bent, their horses' hoofs shall be counted like flint, and their wheels like a whirlwind: Their roaring [shall be] like a lion, they shall roar like young lions: yea, they shall roar, and lay hold of the prey, and shall carry [it] away safe, and none shall deliver [it]. And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of the sea: and if [one] look unto the land, behold darkness [and] sorrow, and the light is darkened in the heavens thereof.
Isaiah 5:26-30 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. Isaiah 11:10 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Isaiah 18:3 All ye inhabitants of the world, and dwellers on the earth, see ye, when he lifteth up an ensign on the mountains; and when he bloweth a trumpet, hear ye.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he [is] just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion [shall be] from sea [even] to sea, and from the river [even] to the ends of the earth. As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein [is] no water. Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare [that] I will render double unto thee; When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man. And the LORD shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord GOD shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south. The LORD of hosts shall defend them; and they shall devour, and subdue with sling stones; and they shall drink, [and] make a noise as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, [and] as the corners of the altar. And the LORD their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they [shall be as] the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land. Zechariah 9:9-16
In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 1Corinthians 15:52
Moses was instructed how to arrange the encampment of Israel:
The Lion of Judah on the East Side:
And on the east side toward the rising of the sun shall they of the standard of the camp of Judah pitch throughout their armies: and Nahshon the son of Amminadab [shall be] captain of the children of Judah. And his host, and those that were numbered of them, [were] threescore and fourteen thousand and six hundred. And those that do pitch next unto him [shall be] the tribe of Issachar: and Nethaneel the son of Zuar [shall be] captain of the children of Issachar. And his host, and those that were numbered thereof, [were] fifty and four thousand and four hundred. [Then] the tribe of Zebulun: and Eliab the son of Helon [shall be] captain of the children of Zebulun. And his host, and those that were numbered thereof, [were] fifty and seven thousand and four hundred. All that were numbered in the camp of Judah [were] an hundred thousand and fourscore thousand and six thousand and four hundred, throughout their armies. These shall first set forth. Numbers 2:3-9
The Man Reuben "the firstborn" on the South side:
On the south side [shall be] the standard of the camp of Reuben according to their armies: and the captain of the children of Reuben [shall be] Elizur the son of Shedeur. And his host, and those that were numbered thereof, [were] forty and six thousand and five hundred. And those which pitch by him [shall be] the tribe of Simeon: and the captain of the children of Simeon [shall be] Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai. And his host, and those that were numbered of them, [were] fifty and nine thousand and three hundred. Then the tribe of Gad: and the captain of the sons of Gad [shall be] Eliasaph the son of Reuel. And his host, and those that were numbered of them, [were] forty and five thousand and six hundred and fifty. All that were numbered in the camp of Reuben [were] an hundred thousand and fifty and one thousand and four hundred and fifty, throughout their armies. And they shall set forth in the second rank. Then the tabernacle of the congregation shall set forward with the camp of the Levites in the midst of the camp: as they encamp, so shall they set forward, every man in his place by their standards. Numbers 2:10-17
The Ox Ephraim on the West Side:
On the west side [shall be] the standard of the camp of Ephraim according to their armies: and the captain of the sons of Ephraim [shall be] Elishama the son of Ammihud. And his host, and those that were numbered of them, [were] forty thousand and five hundred. And by him [shall be] the tribe of Manasseh: and the captain of the children of Manasseh [shall be] Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur. And his host, and those that were numbered of them, [were] thirty and two thousand and two hundred. Then the tribe of Benjamin: and the captain of the sons of Benjamin [shall be] Abidan the son of Gideoni. And his host, and those that were numbered of them, [were] thirty and five thousand and four hundred. All that were numbered of the camp of Ephraim [were] an hundred thousand and eight thousand and an hundred, throughout their armies. And they shall go forward in the third rank. Numbers 2:18-24
The Eagle Dan on the North Side:
The standard of the camp of Dan [shall be] on the north side by their armies: and the captain of the children of Dan [shall be] Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai. And his host, and those that were numbered of them, [were] threescore and two thousand and seven hundred. And those that encamp by him [shall be] the tribe of Asher: and the captain of the children of Asher [shall be] Pagiel the son of Ocran. And his host, and those that were numbered of them, [were] forty and one thousand and five hundred. Then the tribe of Naphtali: and the captain of the children of Naphtali [shall be] Ahira the son of Enan. And his host, and those that were numbered of them, [were] fifty and three thousand and four hundred. All they that were numbered in the camp of Dan [were] an hundred thousand and fifty and seven thousand and six hundred. They shall go hindmost with their standards. Numbers 2:25-31
These [are] those which were numbered of the children of Israel by the house of their fathers: all those that were numbered of the camps throughout their hosts [were] six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty. But the Levites were not numbered among the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses. And the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses: so they pitched by their standards, and so they set forward, every one after their families, according to the house of their fathers. Numbers 2:32-34
When we read this we may ask ourselves why the numbering, why is that important? Where do we find another systematic numbering of the tribes of Israel. In Revelation, John describes the four beasts and the hundred forty [and] four thousand singing the song of Moses, the song of The Lamb as if it were a new song:
And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Zion, and with him an hundred forty [and] four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. Revelation 14:1-3
And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thy judgments are made manifest. Revelation 15:3-4
His People will be Re-gathered.
The 1,000 year period between the return of Messiah at the first resurrection (Matthew 24:30, Zechariah 14:4, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17), and the second resurrection with the time of their judgment (Revelation 20:5,11-15) called the Millennium, from the Latin word meaning "thousand years" will be a very different world than has run its course from the beginning until now.
In the words of Moses it is:
When all Israel is come to appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing. Gather the people together, men, and women, and children, and thy stranger that [is] within thy gates, that they may hear, and that they may learn, and fear the LORD your God, and observe to do all the words of this law: Deuteronomy 31:11
Isaiah tells us:
He will raise an ensign for the nations, and will assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth. The jealousy of Ephraim shall depart, and those who harass Judah shall be cut off; Ephraim shall not be jealous of Judah, and Judah shall not harass Ephraim. Isaiah 11:12-13
For I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new Spirit I will put within you; and I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances. You shall dwell in the land which I gave to your fathers; and you shall be My people, and I will be your God. Ezekiel 36:24-28
We have not seen “all Israel” restored to Torah or into the land, but we are seeing Judah’s camp re-enter under his awesome Jewish banner: the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Today, as in the past, Judah leads. Judah’s camp was the first to cross over through the Red Sea and the first to set out in the wilderness; he is and always was the first into battle. This assignment remains today although many confuse Judah’s banner with that of Israel’s camp despite what the prophets tell us. When we do this we can’t see the whole prophetic picture just as we can’t see the Hebrew words unless we look for them.
We know Reuben lost his firstborn rights, so too Reuben and his divisions will set out second from the south. Perhaps we are seeing a part of this today with the great return from Africa that began in 1991 with Operation Solomon as Ethiopia's Falash Mura began their aliyah. In the wilderness camp, Reuben, the son of Leah was followed from the west by Joseph’s son Ephraim and his divisions who will set out third have the rights of the firstborn that were given to Joseph because he was the firstborn of Rachel, Jacob’s first and true love.
Genesis 28:1-4: “And Isaac called Jacob, and blessed him, and charged him, and said unto him, Thou shalt not take a wife of the daughters of Canaan. Arise, go to Padan-aram, to the house of Bethuel thy mother's father; and take thee a wife from thence of the daughters of Laban thy mother's brother. And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a multitude of people; And give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land wherein thou art a stranger, which God gave unto Abraham.”
Jacob’s marriage to both daughters of Laban reveals many great and mysterious things that God is going to accomplish in His restoration. When we look more closely we see that Jacob and his two wives reveal God's plan of redemption for the whole world, as both Judah and Ephraim declare the end from the beginning. We are about to see Yeshua and his marriage to both and to those that sojourn with them.
Rachel's life and her children tell us where we have been in the past and where we are going in the future. She was the wife of promise for Jacob. Laban promised her to Jacob but it wasn't so until after Laban made sure that Leah was being taken care of first. Rachel's life and her children is an amazing allegory about Israel. About their separation, about being ruled by judges, then Kings and the terrible struggle they would have. She finally had the children she always desired and this tells us even more about the future. Her story confirms many prophecies in the Bible. She was barren as her promised children were not yet seen. Like her children Israel, she also had a problem with idols.
She is a shadow picture of the peoples that constantly had problems with worshiping the One Echad God. This very thing brought many problems to Israel and delayed God's promise for her and Israel. On the other hand, Leah began having children immediately, her 4th son was Judah. The story of Leah and Rachel is indeed a shadow picture of the restoration of Judah and Israel. So today, the two wives of Jacob show us a vital element for understanding Bible Prophecy in that while Jews are Israelites, not all Israelites are Jews and all must follow Messiah for salvation.
Ephraim’s divisions were followed by the divisions of Dan from the north. This is a part of the order God commanded “all Israel”. He does not change - this is how they will enter again when God has executed His judgments. Just how might that look? Perhaps all we need do is read His word and remember - all the tribes designated east of the tabernacle would have to be located east of it. All instructed to be in the south would be south, west would be west and all those designated in the north would be seen camped in the north.
When we take the number of the tribes and apply it to their directional camps we can then easily assign the proper dimensions. By putting the census numbers into directional alignment in the ancient camp of the tribes that surrounded the Tabernacle what we actually see from above is none else but the ancient Hebrew Tav - The Sign of the Covenant Cross - not just those of Leah’s son Judah’s but the sons of the beloved Rachel, all Israel.
In addition to that, when we look at the census of Israel and put the numbers in a modern radar graph, we can see the volume numbers in another way as they surround the Tabernacle. Notice too that the numbers put Reuben on top, he is the firstborn and below him we see Ephraim, the adopted of Jacob, the one that received the double portion inheritance. Finally, we can see Judah is in the lead once again.
So what can we learn from the camps, their ensigns and their numbers? It is not easy, but despite what we may “know” from other’s interpretation and teaching - Judah "alone" does not equal "all" Israel. We can’t interchange those words today or in our past – if we do, we may not know our future as recorded by the prophets.
The key to understanding our future is to understand God gives us His teaching and instruction for living because He loves us and He never changes His mind. He teaches us some very simple guidelines about how we are to live. It's the original message of the Deceiver to fall for the idea that God does not mean what He says or that He changes His mind. Don't listen to that message any longer.
What does this all mean?
It means that it is now time for you to repent and return to God's covenant, return to hear and do His word and walk in the faith of His Kingdom path so that you can ready your lamp for your coming assignment. God is a sovereign God. He is a loving God and He has provided a way to offer you His salvation. You can accept His gift of life. Consider carefully what your life consists of, look at it and repent of your sin, ask His forgiveness and accept His gift of love through Messiah Yeshua. Do it now!