Why is the tribe of Dan not included in the 144,000 in the Book of Revelation? I believe that the history of that tribe reveals clues as to why they would be excluded.
First of all, in Genesis 49, Jacob talks about each of his children and their futures. When he gets to Dan, he likens him to a serpent. Obviously, a serpent is not a good thing. Serpents, in the Bible, are connected to Satan, sin, and judgment.
By the time we get to the Book of Judges, the tribe of Dan was setting up a priest just for their tribe. The priest that they got was called “father” and had taken a vow of poverty (Judges 17:10). This priest was also an idol-worshipper and a thief (Judges 18:20). Again, this is not a good thing.
If we move forward to the time of the kings, we notice that when the kingdom was split in two, Jeroboam, the king of the Northern Kingdom (Israel), made 2 golden calves to keep his subjects from going to Jerusalem to worship the Lord. This was done in response to his concerned that traveling to Jerusalem might lead to reuniting the kingdom under Rehoboam. He put one calf in Bethel and the other up in Dan. All of this is found in 1 Kings 12, and verse 30 says, “And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan.” Dan, then, became the center of pagan worship for the 10 tribes in the north.
Finally, the last time the name Dan is mentioned in scripture is found in Amos 8:14
. That verse says, “They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, Thy god, O Dan, liveth; and, The manner of Beersheba liveth; even they shall fall, and never rise up again.” Again the context of this verse connects Dan to idolatry.
What we learn from all of this is that Dan was the first tribe to practice idolatry, and their history was dominated by graven images. The Lord does not tolerate that kind of thing as Deuteronomy 6:14-15
attests—“Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; (For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the LORD thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.” (Deuteronomy 6:14-15
). These verses, like Amos 8:14
, reveal the consequences of worshipping those pagan images—complete and total destruction. I believe that this is the reason why they are excluded from Revelation 7.