Thoughts on the Passage
This is a different kind of seal. This one protects God’s people.
There is a couple of things here that need clarification. First, we see two specific numbers—12 and 1000. Again, to the Jewish person, these numbers have great significance. Twelve and one-thousand have special meaning. Twelve means perfection or complete. One-thousand is 3–10’s or ten times ten times ten. Ten means completion and 3 is also a number of God’s perfection. In reality what it is saying is that the complete number of God’s people will be sealed. God does not miss anyone.
Second, it lists 12 tribes. Because Joseph’s two sons are both mentioned (Joseph is mentioned, but it refers to Ephraim. Manasseh is also mentioned as he was Joseph’s other son). That leaves out the tribe of Dan. Some see something sinister in leaving this tribe out. However, it is common in lots of Jewish chronology to only include what is needed to make a point. So leaving out Dan is not an issue, especially because God says they are sealed from all the tribes of Israel—none are excluded.
So why does God do this here?
God wants the church to know that He is taking care of His people, Israel. Throughout this time where people from the nations are filling heaven, God has not forgotten His people. He is protecting them; He is making sure that they will be there at the end, and that the full number of them will be included. God has not forgotten that promise either.
When God answers promises He gave to other people—and yours or mine seems to be forgotten, just remember this passage. God never forgets one promise. He will make sure it gets fulfilled in time.
Father, today I am holding many promises that You have given to me—they are still unanswered. I wonder what will happen? I am being faithful—other people seem to get theirs, but mine seems to wait. This encourages me so much. You do not forget. You take special care to make sure that others do not forget that You keep promises, even when it seems like You may have chosen to bypass us and move on. So, help me stay faithful. Help me stay expecting You to keep Your word. Help me to know that the promises come with Your seal of protection. In Jesus' name. Amen.