Why choose the name “12 Tribes” for a place that is dedicated to guiding people in finding paths of peace and healing as they pull the broken places of their lives together again, a place dedicated to mining spiritual truth from the Scriptures, to encouraging Christians in their daily walk and to teaching them how to use this spiritual truth in order to bring restoration and wholeness to bruised hearts?
Here is the story:
As the years passed in my own relationship with God, He led me into a deep and passionate love for His Chosen People. The stories of antiquity captured my heart. It felt like I was returning to something familiar, solid, eternal. He was feeding my inmost being, showing me principles and practical applications from the Old Testament stories. The truth of this scripture:
“For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” Romans 15:4 NASB.
was powerfully alive in the midst of this adventure! The Holy Spirit led me to study the book of Nehemiah for an entire year – I learned why names and lists are important enough that the Lord included them in Scripture and that the rebuilding of the walls and gates related to the rebuilding process of our souls (look for a book/study about this in the coming year). From there I was given a holy curiosity, a desire to examine the names of the 12 tribes of Israel in the order that they appeared on the breast plate of the High Priest, to see what could be learned…and learn I did!
These 12 Tribes originated from the sons of Jacob, the Biblical patriarch….12 in number from different mothers. Their story is far from being dry or boring…the human drama excels the best plot-lines of even modern dramas, action-adventures, and romance!
The record of the Tribes of Israel shows God’s interaction with His Chosen people – His love, His Covenant, His Desire, His Provision, His Joy, His Sorrow…of how He carries His Chosen Ones over His Heart, and of the blessings He intends for His Chosen Ones to receive. His “Chosen Ones” includes us, for “you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light..!” (1 Peter 2:9)
The following illustrates one way of studying and applying lessons from the 12 Tribes of Israel to our lives:
I believe that each of their names hints at a wonderful legacy for us to inherit…
You see, in Biblical times, great care was taken in giving a child their name. Frequently, inquiry was made to God on what name a child should be given. The name of someone was believed to represent 3 ideas:
the very person,
all that is known about the person,
and the very presence of the person…(you can see how incredible this concept is when considering that Christians asked to pray “in Jesus’ name”!)
To find the meaning of someone’s name was to know quite a bit about the person and the destiny of that person.
So, relating this to the 12 Tribes of Israel, first we investigate the meaning of their names. The Tribes (in order of birth) and the meaning of their names are as follows:
Reuben – viewing (or behold) the son
Simeon – hearing and obeying
Levi – joining or cleaving to
Judah – confession or praise of God
Zebulon – home or dwelling place
Issachar – reward or what is given by way of reward
Dan – judging
Gad – a company
Asher – happy or blessed (blessings). This word is always in the plural form.
Naphtali – a wrestler or striving with
Joseph – added, an addition
Benjamin – son of the right hand
After some prayer and a leading to reduce the meanings of the names to one word which would convey the same idea in more modern terms for our use here, the following list was developed:
Reuben – Focus/Worship
Simeon – Wisdom
Levi – Embrace
Judah – Praise/Declare
Zebulon – Abide
Issachar – Reward/Treasure
Dan – Discernment
Gad – Fellowship
Naphtali – Conqueror or victory
Joseph – Increase
Benjamin – Honor
The journey from new believer to mature; from weakness or fear or abuse to peace and joy and wholeness, could be said to follow the path disclosed through these names:
As we “behold the Son of God”, fostering a new focus on Him, we are worshippers. As we hear His word and learn to obey it, we gain wisdom. Through worship and wisdom we draw close to His heart and experience oneness of spirit -His embrace. We declare His praise as we linger/abide in that embrace through the wisdom we have gained. His Presence becomes a reward and treasure to us as we grow. And we also grow in discernment (purpose and discretion) as we fellowship with the Lord as well as other believers. All the blessings of God are learned, understood, and experienced in the body of believers. But the blessings are allowed to be tested, and if we truly have developed the previous attributes, we will enter into the test, battle for what we KNOW is ours, and emerge as a conqueror or, at least, achieve victory. Finally, we will experience increase in all that God has promised us and bringing honor to the Lord Himself and the people that bear His name…
Healing of the heart occurs at every “stone” we step through, but particularly in these three areas: 1) of His Presence becoming a reward and treasure, 2) growing in discernment, 3) and understanding the blessings.
12 Tribes Ministries is a place where the lessons learned through this ancient people are unearthed and practically applied to life today!