Prophecy is often small pieces that add to each other.
Eventually we start to see a clearer picture of the future. By themselves, these small pieces can only be guessed as to their meanings. When it comes to “last days'” prophecy there is a lot of guessing in the church. Guessing is ok if it doesn’t cause arrogance leading to division, or those guesses become proclaimed as God’s word.
Until this picture comes into focus guesses become questions. The twelve tribes are addressed at different times in Scripture. Moses gave words of prophecy to each of the twelve tribes before his death. And other prophets had more to say. Our sight will improve as “Building his Temple” continues? In the meantime we are building with more questions than answers. Questions that prophets may answer.
“Issachar is a strong donkey, lying down between two burdens; He saw that rest was good, and that the land was pleasant; He bowed a shoulder to bear a burden and became a band of slaves.” (Genesis 49″14-15)
During the millennium Issachar’s northern boundary is adjacent to Simeon’s section. His southern boundary is where Zebulun’s land starts. Are these the two burdens he is lying between? How will his descendants become slaves?
“Dan shall judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, A viper by the path, That bites the horses heels so that its rider shall fall backward. I have waited for your salvation, O LORD! (Genesis 49:16-18)
The descendants of Dan will return from exile (lost tribe) and as one of the tribes of Israel serve as judge. Or, Dan will be resurrected to be the judge of his gathered family. In either case these are words of redemption, for the children of Dan would become idolaters!
When Dan captured its territory in Israel they named the conquered city Dan. “Then the children of Dan set up for themselves the carved image; and Jonathan the son of Gershom, the son of Manasseh, and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of captivity of the land. ” (Judges 18:30) The serpent of idolatry caused the northern tribes their fall and divorce from God who scattered them throughout the nations. Jacob saw their troubles, but was given hope. “I have waited for your salvation, O LORD!”
“Gad, a troop shall tramp upon him, But he shall triumph at last.” (Genesis 49:19) Leah bore six sons while competing with her sister Rachel for Jacob’s affection. No longer able to give Jacob more children she gave Jacob her maid, Zilpah. When the child was born Leah boasts by naming him Gad meaning “a troop comes” (Genesis 30:9-11) What “troop shall tramp upon him” remains a mystery, but we know that the children of Gad will have the victory.
Our questions continue as will the prophecy to Jacob’s four remaining sons.