Similarities between Judaism's Messiah ben Joseph & the Prince of Dan & Christianity's Two Witnesses of Revelation
by Mikkel S. Kragh
According to Judaism's prophecies, the final King Messiah is also called Messiah ben David (Messiah son of David). But before he comes and starts the Messianic Era, Judaism believes that there will appear another personage called Messiah ben Joseph, who will be a sort of mini-messiah. According to a few Jewish sources, Messiah ben Joseph will be accompanied by the Prince of the tribe of Dan. Messiah ben Joseph will gather the faithful of the Lost 10 Tribes of Israel around him, do battle against the wicked future world dictator who demands to be worshipped as God, and finally go to Jerusalem, where Messiah ben Joseph will unite with Judah and be killed by the evil world dictator.
Messiah ben Joseph & the Prince of Dan in Judaism
The belief in Messiah ben Joseph is very well known in Orthodox Judaism, though it is not an article of faith, unlike the belief in Messiah ben David, whom it is necessary to believe in if you are to follow Orthodox Judaism.
The belief that Messiah ben Joseph will be accompanied by a Prince of the tribe of Dan is, however, only taught by a few sources. Rabbi Hillel Rivlin (1758-1833) of Shklov in the Russian Empire (today Belarus) wrote in Kol HaTor (“The Voice of the Turtledove”) that the Prince of Dan will assist Messiah ben Joseph (Yair Davidiy: The Tasks of Moschiach ben Yoseph).
Rabbi Isaiah HaLevi Horovitz (c. 1555-1630) wrote the book Shnei Lukot HaBrit (“The Two Tablets of the Law”). In this book Rabbi Horovitz quotes from the Zohar (the most famous text of the Jewish mysticism known as Kabbalah, written down between 300-1200 CE) which says that Sariah of the tribe of Dan will help Messiah ben Ephraim (Messiah ben Ephraim is another name for Messiah ben Joseph, who is to come from the tribe of Ephraim.):
“This is Sariah who will come to help the Messiah son of Ephraim, and he himself is from the tribe of Dan. He is destined to take vengeance in wars against the other nations.” (The Zohar, Balak 194:b) (Yair Davidiy: The Messiah son of Ephraim and the Tribe of Dan)
Judaism's view that Messiah
ben Joseph will be accompanied by a Prince of Dan is, in other words,
a minority view. But nonetheless, there are Jewish sages who have
believed in it and written about it.
The reason why the Christian Lost 10 Tribes will believe in Messiah ben Joseph
Why will the Lost 10 Tribes will believe in and follow Messiah ben Joseph and “Messiah ben Dan” - if we can call the Prince of Dan that - when they appear on the world scene and begin the re-unification of the Lost 10 Tribes and Judah (the Jews)? The reason is that in the Holy Scriptures of the Lost 10 Tribes, Messiah ben Joseph and the Prince of Dan are mentioned, but under different names.
The Lost 10 Tribes of Israel are primarily Christians. The final book of the Christian New Testament, the Revelation of John, mentions in chap. 11 “two witnesses”, or two final great prophets, who will appear on the world scene before the coming of the King Messiah, whom Christians also happen to call Messiah ben David (among other things).
Other people than myself have noticed the similarity between the two witnesses of Revelation and Messiah ben Joseph. But if you connect the two witnesses of Revelation chap. 11 with another major prophecy in Revelation chap. 7, the similarity between the two witnesses and Messiah ben Joseph and the Prince of Dan becomes so great that they are almost identical.
The Two Witnesses & the 144,000 Israelites in Revelation
According to Revelation chap. 7, God will seal and protect 144,000 Israelites out of the 12 tribes of Israel before the start of the Great Tribulation, where the Antichrist will persecute Israel and the world in general. The listing of the 12 tribes in Revelation chap. 7 has some anomalies, which have puzzled theologians for almost 2,000 years.
The short explanation is that the name of Dan is missing and 12,000 Danites are missing, and that the name of Ephraim is missing and 12,000 Ephraimites are missing. The reason is that the two witnesses are from Dan and Ephraim and that they lead the 144,000 Israelites. These two witnesses are the same personages which Judaism knows as Messiah ben Joseph and his lesser-known companion the Prince of Dan.
The more detailed explanation is this: There are 12,000 of each of the 12 tribes of Israel, in total 144,000. But the anomalies are these:
Dan is entirely missing, and Manasseh has taken Dan's place.
Ephraim is also missing, but the “tribe of Joseph” is there.
Concerning Manasseh: This means that there are 12,000 Manassites from the tribe of Manasseh plus 6,000 Manassites from the “tribe of Joseph”, because the latter is half Manasseh and half Ephraim. In other words, Manasseh is over-represented with 18,000 Israelites. The reason why Manasseh is over-represented is because the birthright was given to Joseph (1 Chron 5:1-2), and Manasseh is Joseph's son.
Concerning Ephraim: Ephraim is Manasseh's brother, and we would therefore expect Ephraim also to be represented with 18,000 Israelites. But there are only 6,000 Ephraimites, which means that Ephraim is under-represented when compared to the other 12 tribes. This would make no sense, because Ephraim was one of the birthright tribes, and was promised by Jacob to become greater than Manasseh (Gen 48:19). Not only is Ephraim under-represented by having 12,000 Israelites less than his brother Manasseh, but the name of Ephraim is also missing.
Concerning Dan: Dan is entirely missing from Revelation chap. 7. The other tribes are there with 12,000 Israelites (except Ephraim and Manasseh), but there is not a single Danite. Also the name of Dan is also missing.
In other words: The name of Dan is missing and 12,000 Danites are missing, and the name of Ephraim is missing and 12,000 Ephraimites are missing.
The answer to this puzzle, however, is this: The two witnesses in Revelation chap. 11 are from Dan and Ephraim.
Since the 144,000 Israelites are the most God-fearing of the peoples of the earth, they will, of course, follow God's two prophets, or witnesses. The two witnesses, or prophets, will be from Dan and Ephraim, and that is why Dan and Ephraim are missing with 12,000 men each in Revelation chap. 7, and why their names are not there.
I am not aware of any other Christian who have come to this conclusion until now. But Judaism's centuries old expectations of Messiah ben Joseph and the Prince of Dan are almost identical.
Similarities between Messiah ben Joseph & the Prince of Dan & the Two Witnesses
Here is a comparison of what the two witnesses of Revelation chap. 11 and Messiah ben Joseph and the Prince of Dan are said to do (I base it mainly on Otot ha-Mashiah (“Signs of the Messiah”), written app. 620 CE, in David C. Mitchell: Messiah ben Joseph (2016), pp. 165-170):
The two witnesses are of the tribes of Ephraim and Dan.
Messiah ben Joseph the Prince of Dan are of the tribes of Ephraim and Dan.
The two witnesses will gather 144,000 of the 12 tribes of Israel around them.
Messiah ben Joseph and the Prince of Dan will gather thousands of the Lost 10 Tribes of Israel around them and unite with Judah (the Jews).
The two witnesses will prophesy against the Antichrist/the Beast and God will protect them.
Messiah ben Joseph and the Prince of Dan will fight against Armilus the son of Satan/Gog and God will protect them.
The two witnesses will be killed in Jerusalem by the “beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit” and their dead bodies will lie in the streets of Jerusalem for 3.5 days.
Messiah ben Joseph will be killed in Jerusalem by Armilus the son of Satan/Gog and his dead body will lie in the streets of Jerusalem.
The two witnesses will be resurrected 3.5 days later by God and be taken to Heaven.
Messiah ben Joseph will be the first to be resurrected by Messiah ben David.
Messiah ben David will return along with the angels and the resurrected saints, including the two witnesses, and defeat the Antichrist/the Beast, and start the Messianic Kingdom.
Messiah ben David will return, resurrect Messiah ben Joseph, defeat Armilus the son of Satan/Gog, and start the Messianic Kingdom.
The similarities between the two witnesses and Messiah ben Joseph and the Prince of Dan are so great that they can only refer to the same personages.
When these two prophets of the God of Israel appear, both the Lost 10 Tribes and Judah will believe that they are prophets, whether they believe in Christianity or Judaism. This is a great truth to realize: That the re-unification of the Lost 10 Tribes of Israel and Judah (the Jews) is going to start, not at the coming of the King Messiah, but BEFORE His coming.
Yair Davidiy: The Tasks of Moschiach ben Yoseph: https://www.britam.org/task.html
Yair Davidiy: The Messiah son of Ephraim and the Tribe of Dan: https://hebrewnations.com/articles/bible/mbjtoday/danmbj.html
David C. Mitchell: Messiah ben Joseph (Campbell Publications, 2016)