Before I go further, has anyone researched or ever found an explanation? I am into other topics now but fell upon some actual reasons. I believe the WT just says it's symbolic and since it's not the same 12 as originally, that it proves it's symbolic. I just found some scriptures that seem to hint WHY they are not there and replaced.
WHY 12 tribes in Rev don't match original 12 tribes, accidentally ran into the answer.
I seem to remember the WTS saying its symbolic and thus proves that its not natural born Jews that make up the heavenly class but instead its spiritual Israel, or people of all nations. I've never actually looked into it myself though, so I'm curious to read what you've found.
Forgive me but who cares what the WT says, it is corrupt to the core.
This is from the ESV Study bible
Rev. 7:4–8 The selection and order of the 12 tribes suggest that the 144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel have symbolic significance, representing the church (however, see note on vv. 1–17 for an alternative view). These are not Jacob's sons, for Dan is omitted and Manasseh included. They are not the tribes that inherited land in Canaan, for Dan is omitted, Levi (the priestly tribe) is included, and Joseph is listed instead of his son Ephraim. Judah, the tribe of the Messiah (5:5), appears first rather than Reuben, the firstborn. When 7:5–8 is compared with the list of Jacob's sons in Gen. 35:22–26, the promotion of tribes descended from concubines Bilhah and Zilpah (Gad, Asher, Naphtali) over the sons of Leah and Rachel suggests that those once excluded from privilege are now included. The number 12,000 reappears in the dimensions of the new Jerusalem (Rev. 21:16). Indeed, the number 144,000 (12 x 12 x 1,000) suggests symbolism here, but that does not necessarily decide the question of whether “Israel” is also a symbol for the church, or is intended to refer to literal, ethnic Israel.
Rev. 7:1–17 Interlude: The Sealing of God's International Israel. There are three interludes (vv. 1–17; 10:1–11:14; 20:1–6) explaining the place of the saints in the events of Revelation. (As with the Egyptian plagues, the seals, trumpets, and bowls relate only to sinners.) Literal and symbolic approaches differ sharply in interpreting the vision of the “144,000, sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel” (7:4) and its relation to the next vision of an innumerable multitude “from every nation” (v. 9). Many understand this to be a reference to ethnic (or biological) Israel, and they would view the 144,000 as a symbolic or actual number of Jewish believers brought to faith immediately after Jesus returns and removes the church from the earth before (or during) a seven-year tribulation (this is a “pretribulation rapture” view). However, another common approach understands “Israel” as a reference to the church, the new covenant people of God, and in this view the visions of the 144,000 and of the international multitude are complementary perspectives on the church, believers from every nation including ethnic Israel. They are protected from the Lamb's wrath as his own flock (v. 17) but are exposed to persecution by evil enemies. The 144,000 reappear in 14:1–4, and their description there has a bearing on the interpretation here.
Personally I do not accept the replacement theology Supersessionism idea, Romans 9,10 and 11 etc. puts any such notion to bed IMHO.
I am sure it will become clear as we approach the event about the tribe of Dan. We are a way off (even though the WT would have JWs believe it has happened already).
My advice is to get to grips with the basics first. Who is Jesus?
Get to know Him and you will begin to understand His Revelation.
Dan is omitted, presumably for idolatry.
Ephraim is present but is referred to as Joseph. Joseph's two sons, Manessah and Ephraim inherited equal portions with the other sons of Israel, bringing the tribe total to 13. Though not firstborn, Ephraim was blessed over his brother. In other parts of the Bible Ephraim is equated with Joseph.
Did the tribe of Dan still exist in the 1st century?
Evidently not, TD.
The tribe of Dan suffered the same fate as the other Northern tribes when they were defeated and deported by Tiglat-pileser in 732 BC. A remnant did survive and made its way south, but by the 1C AD had been complertely absorbed by the tribe of Judah.
An early Church Father of the early 2C AD, Irenaeus had a somewhat eccentric view for why Dan was omitted from the tribal count in Rev 7. Basing his argument on the LXX text of Jer 8:16 "From Dan shall we hear the noise of his swift horses", he concluded that the future Antichrist was to come from the tribe Dan!
[Quoted from "Against Heresies" Book 5, Chap 30 verse 2, as found in the New Bible Dictionary, page 289]
I believe the WT just says it's symbolic and since it's not the same 12 as originally, that it proves it's symbolic.
and then when you add them all up it becomes literal!
My personal take? The name "Dan" literally means "judge". Before Christ, the Law was a "judge" of sorts. After Christ, "judgment" was nullified. Or Jesus himself will be the Judge, as he is the fulfillment/completion of the Law.
12 spiritual tribes (the new Israel) the true worshippers replaced the false worshippers (the old Israel) Babylon the great in 70 AD
The christian priesthood (144000 priests) replaced the jewish priesthood.
Without going into all kinds of deep discussion and theory, it is pretty simple.
The guy(s) who wrote Revelation wanted everyone to believe it was steeped in symbols with hidden meanings.
Changing the names of the tribes would contribute to such a belief.