16 Dan shall judge his people As one of the tribes of Israel. 17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way, A viper by the path, That bites the horse's heels So that its rider shall fall backward. 18 I have waited for your salvation, O LORD!
Genesis 49:16 - 18
NKJV - 16 Dan shall judge his people As one of the tribes of Israel. 17 Dan shall be a serpent by the way, A viper by the path, That bites the horse's heels So that its rider shall fall backward.
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Dan means "Judge" and the tribe provided judges in Israel. However, the tribe of Dan was not known for its moral uprightness or its faithfulness. Eventually, Dan abandoned the land allotted to them when Joshua divided up the Promised Land among the tribes of Israel and they migrated way to the north of Israel. v 18 is Jacob's cry for hope that Dan would eventually be saved and return to God but that appears not to have been the case. Their departure from Israel and from God is notable in that they are not listed among the tribes in Rev 7:4-8 where God preserves 12,000 from the 12 tribes to serve Him through the Tribulation.
Jacob gathered his sons together to tell them what would befall them in the last days (Gen 49:1-2). When are the last days? Jacob's exclamation "I have waited for thy salvation, O LORD" is a clue since it points either to Christ's first or second comings, more likely the second, since the Jews in authority rejected Christ at his first coming. So, we can say that the last days probably refer to the time immediately before Christ's second coming. Dan was always one of the tribes of Israel, but the first verse implies he is so different from the other tribes that his identity as a tribe of Israel isn't necessarily according to ancient standards. It also perhaps implies there may be no true bloodline connecting Dan the patriarch with the bloodlines of the other tribes. In other words, during the last days. Dan may be completely non-white in skin color. Since Israel is fundamentally a spiritual concept and condition (Christianity is spiritual Israel) we can't rely on bloodline or nationality to define the status of anyone in Israel. It is a matter of a person's relationship with God, either as a Christian or Jew. Dan is called a serpent, but we should understand that he is acting like a serpent in biting horse's heels. The rider on a horse may refer to the military power of certain nations or groups of nations, as for instance, the UN, or the 10 kings of the Beast. Dan will be regarded as a tribe given to devilish or demonic wisdom and tactics in defending against or attacking other countries. He may, at this future time, be involved in warring against the 10-horned beast and be willing to do anything to win as one of the kings of the east (Rev 16:12). The other tribes may be unable or unwilling to do the same. So, the prophecy for Dan indicates he will be militarily active in the last days, and be looked up to as a judge by his peoples, that is, in willingness to enforce the legalities of the land. (The beast will do the opposite.) Today, the likely countries for Dan might be China, India, and other east Asian areas with a significant Christian population. The listing of the tribes doesn't include Dan, in Rev (7:4-8) but it seems suspect because it includes both Joseph and Manasses, the first born son of Joseph. Ephraim, the second born, was more important than Manasses in the scriptures. The twelve gates of the New Jerusalem do have the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel (Rev 21:12)
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