Here we have a respite in the breaking of the "Seals" that God's "elect of Israel" may be "SEALED." As God reserved 7000 in the days of Ahab who did not bow the knee to Baal (1. Kings 19:18), so there will be a "remnant according to the election of grace" (Rom. 11:4-6), and God will reserve 144,000 of Israel who during the period of the Tribulation will not bow the knee to Antichrist. This SEALING is not the Sealing of the Holy Spirit, by whom the Believer is sealed (Eph. 1:13-14), but it is a "sealing" at the hand of Angels. Christ refers to it in Matt. 24:31. What this SEALING is we are told in Rev. 14:1. The "FATHER'S NAME" is to be written on their foreheads. They were "Sealed" on their FOREHEADS where others could see it. Theirs was no secret discipleship. In the same public manner the followers of Antichrist will be "Sealed" in their Foreheads or on their RIGHT HAND, with the "MARK OF THE BEAST" which is the NUMBER OF HIS NAME, or 666. Rev. 13:16-18.
The 144,000, 12,000 from each Tribe, will be of the earthly Israel, the literal seed of Abraham, living at that time, and not of a mystical or spiritual Israel. Though the "Twelve Tribes" were long ago lost among the nations, their whereabouts is not unknown to God. And though they may have lost their genealogical books and records, so as not to be able to trace their Tribal descent, God knows where they are, and who is who, and in that day the angels, with omniscient precision, will seal them according to their Tribes, 12,000 from each Tribe. The Angel who has charge of the SEALING comes from the EAST. This is significant. It intimates that the "Sealed Ones" have their gaze directed toward the "SUN-RISING," as if looking for the fulfilment of the promise in Malachi, "Unto you that fear My name shall the 'SUN OF RIGHTEOUSNESS' arise with healing in His wings." Mal. 4:2. The "Elect" then of Israel will be those who "fear Christ's name," and who, like as Simon and Anna watched for His First Coming, will be looking for the coming of their Messiah.
There is a remarkable difference in the names of the Tribes as here recorded and the names of the original Twelve Tribes. Here the names of Dan and Ephraim are omitted, and the names of Joseph and Levi are substituted. Why is this? The reason is plain. In Deu. 29:18-21, we read that the man, or woman, or family, or TRIBE, that should introduce idolatry into Israel, should have their or its name "blotted out" from under heaven, and be separated out of the Tribes of Israel. This is just what the Tribes of Dan and Ephraim were guilty of when they permitted Jeroboam to set up "Golden Calves" to be worshipped, one at Dan in the "Tribe of Dan," and the other at Bethel in the "Tribe of Ephraim." 1. Kings 12:25-30. This is the reason why the Tribes of Dan and Ephraim are omitted from the list in this chapter, and the names of Joseph and Levi substituted. But as the Tribes of Dan and Ephraim are in the list of the Twelve Tribes that shall occupy the Holy Land during the Millennium (Ez. 48:1-7, 23-29), it is evident that the SEALING of the Tribes in this chapter is more for HEAVENLY PRESERVATION, than to keep them for an earthly inheritance, and this view is confirmed by the fact that they are later seen with the Lamb on the Heavenly Mount Zion. Rev. 14:1-5. The omission of their names in this list of these "SEALED ONES" is to show that the Tribes of Dan and Ephraim must pass through the Great Tribulation unprotected by sealing.