The Significance of No. 12
Numbers have a special meaning to our Creator and often certain numbers have a special meaning. What special meaning or purpose does the number 12 have in the Bible? We find this number in all of His creation.
– There are twelve hours in a day as well as twelve hours in a night.
– Twelve is the symbolic number that signifies earthly completion and perfect government.
It is to be found in the twelve phases of the moon, twelve constellations, the twelve signs of the zodiac, as well as elsewhere in the cosmos.
– It takes twelve months to complete the circle of each year that passes.
– In the west we recognise this number from “the twelve good men and true” of the Jury service in an important court case or trial.
– The ribcage of the human skeleton is composed of twelve pairs of ribs, which are attached to twelve thoracic vertebrae.
– The human cell has twelve biochemical salts. Also there are twelve gates in the human body of the man – 2 eyes, 2 ears, 2 nostrils, the mouth, 2 breasts, the navel, the anus and the penis.
– Jacob, the Patriarch of Israel had twelve sons.
It is therefore also no coincidence that the nation of Israel, which, uniquely amongst all of the nations, is ‘God’s chosen people,’ should be composed of twelve tribes. Yeshua, the Messiah of Israel, chose twelve disciples who later were to become the twelve Apostles. Luke 22:30 records that He promised to bestow upon them a Kingdom….
“that you may eat and drink at My table in My Kingdom, and sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
– There were twelve springs at Elim, the second stop for the children of Israel after their exodus from Egypt. (Exodus 15:27)
– Moses sent out twelve spies to spy out the land of Canaan. (Deuteronomy 1:23)
– The twelve rods of the almond tree confirmed the choice of Aaron as the High Priest of Israel. (Numbers 17:6-8)
– There were twelve precious stones on the breastplate of the High Priest. (Exodus 28:17-21)
– Twelve loaves were to be placed on the golden Table of the Showbread. (Leviticus 24:5-6)
– Before Solomon’s Temple stood the bronze Sea, which was supported by twelve bronze oxen.
(1 Kings 7:25)
– Elijah built an altar at Mount Carmel using twelve stones. (1 Kings 18:31)
Then there are the twelve Minor Prophets of the Old Testament of the Bible. They are called minor, not because they are less important than the Major Prophets, but simply due the size of their writings being considerably smaller. Furthermore, the Book of Revelations 21:12-14 carries a description of the New Jerusalem that is to descend from heaven from God; “Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of Israel………… Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.” (Revelations 22:1-2)
“And he showed me a pure river of water [the Gihon?] of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits each tree yielding its fruit every month.”
We could go on and on, as we find the number twelve used 187 times in the Scriptures. The number twelve therefore clearly seems to be of special importance to our Creator, as in most cases it represents the number of perfection in authority. The number twelve shows up in the Book of Revelation 22 times, this is especially so in the case of the New Jerusalem. Of course this makes absolute sense, as when the New Jerusalem descends from heaven, once the twelve tribes of Israel are reunited into the Restored and United Kingdom of Israel, with our King Messiah ruling on the Throne of David, the world will experience ultimate perfection in authority.
“Who has measured the waters in the hollow of His hand; and meted out heaven with a span; and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?”
“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart.”
“As for God His way is perfect.”