Twelve is a perfect number, signifying perfection of government, or of governmental perfection. It is found as a multiple in all that has to do with rule. The sun which “rules” the day, and the moon and stars which “govern” the night, do so by their passage through the twelve signs of the Zodiac which completes the great circle of the heavens of 360 (12 x 30) degrees or divisions, and thus govern the year.
Twelve is the product of 3 (the perfectly Divine and heavenly number) and 4 (the earthly, the number of what is material and organic).
While seven is composed of 3 added to 4, the number twelve is 3 multiplied by 4, and hence denotes that which can scarcely be explained in words, but which the spiritual perception can at once appreciate, viz., organization, the products denoting production and multiplication and increase of all that is contained in the two numbers separately. The 4 is generally prominently seen in the twelve.
The Twelve Patriarchs
There were twelve patriarchs from (and including) Shem (the son of Noah) to Jacob:
4. Heber 5. Peleg
8. Nahor 9. Terah
The Sons of Israel
The twelve sons of Israel, though actually thirteen in number, are never listed with 13 names in a single list.
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There are about 18 enumerations altogether, but in each list one or the other sons / tribes is omitted. Generally it is Levi, but not always. In Revelation 7 both Dan and Ephraim are omitted (see number 8), but the enumeration is still twelve, Levi and Joseph being introduced for this special sealing of the remnant which shall go unscathed through the great tribulation.
How is the number twelve represented in Solomon’s Temple?
The temple of Solomon has twelve as the predominating factor, in contrast with the Tabernacle, which had the number five. This agrees with the grace which shines in the Tabernacle, and with the glory of the kingdom which is displayed in the Temple.
When we come to the New Testament we find the same great principle pervading the Apostolic government as we see in the Patriarchal and National, for we have the following groups of twelve:
• The Apostles.
• The foundations in the heavenly Jerusalem.
• The gates.
• The pearls.
• The angels.