There  is a difference between the twelve tribes of Israel and the twelve sons of  Israel. “Israel” is the name that God gave Jacob (Genesis  32:28). His twelve sons are Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad,  Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin (Genesis  35:23-26; Exodus  1:1-4; 1  Chronicles 2:1-2). When the tribes inherited the Promised Land, Levi’s  descendants did not receive a territory for themselves. Instead, they became  priests and had several cities scattered throughout all of Israel. Joseph did  not receive a tribe, either—Jacob had adopted Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and  Manasseh, essentially giving Joseph a double portion for his faithfulness in  saving the family from famine (Genesis  47:11-12). This makes the tribes as listed in Joshua: Reuben, Simeon, Judah,  Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh.  Adding to the confusion, the tribe of Ephraim is sometimes referred to as the  tribe of Joseph (Numbers  1:32-33).

After King Solomon died, Israel split into two kingdoms.  Judah, to the south, included Judah, Simeon, and Benjamin. The other tribes  combined to make the kingdom of Israel in the north. Israel was destroyed by the  Assyrians, and most of the Israelites were either killed or deported; the  Israelites who remained most likely integrated with the kingdom of  Judah.

Jesus was from Judah, Paul was from Benjamin, and John the  Baptist was a Levite, but, since the diaspora in  A.D. 70, identifying the tribe of a modern Jew is a little more difficult. That  doesn’t mean that the tribal divisions are irrelevant. During the tribulation,  when most of the world has abandoned God and is following the Antichrist,  144,000 Jews will be sealed by God. This number  comprises 12,000 from each tribe. So, even if we don’t know who is in what  tribe, God has kept track. The tribes are listed again in Revelation 7:5-8, but  they are not the same tribes that were given land in Joshua. Manasseh is there,  and Ephraim (under Joseph’s name). But instead of Dan, Levi is included. No  explanation is given as to why.

Here is a list of the tribes of Israel:

The  tribe of Benjamin;  The tribe of Dan; The tribe of Levi; The tribe of Joseph; The tribe of Issachar; The tribe of Gad; The tribe of Manasseh; The tribe of Ephraim; The tribe of Zebulun; The tribe of Asher; The tribe of Reuben; The tribe of  Judah and, The tribe of Simeon; and, The tribe of Naphtali.