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What significance does the number 12 have in the Bible?

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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, 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.

THERE WERE Twelve PATRIARCHS from Seth to Noah and his family, and twelve from Shem to Jacob.

THE Twelve SONS OF ISRAEL though actually thirteen in number, there are never more than twelve names in any one list. There are about 18 enumerations altogether, but in each list one or other is omitted. Generally it is Levi, but not always. In Revelation 7 both Dan and Ephraim are omitted , 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.

Then there were twelve Judges.

THE TEMPLE OF SOLOMON has the number 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 twelve Apostles.
The twelve foundations in the heavenly Jerusalem.
The twelve gates.
The twelve pearls.
The twelve angels.

THE MEASUREMENT OF THE NEW JERUSALEM will be 12,000 furlongs square, while the wall will be 144 (12 x 12) cubits, Revelation 21:16,17.

The number of the sealed in Revelation 7:4 will be 144,000, and all that has to do with the Twelve Tribes is necessarily pervaded by this number, such as the stones in the High Priest's breastplate, the stones taken out of the Jordan, the number of the spies, etc. etc., and therefore we have not referred to all such reference in these pages.

TWELVE PERSONS WERE ANOINTED for government of various kinds. Of course, all kings, priests, prophets, and healed lepers were anointed; but the circumstances of the anointing of twelve individuals is specially recorded. Of these, five were priests (Aaron and his four sons, Exodus 6:23) and seven were kings:
Aaron, Exodus 29:7,9, etc.
Nadab, Exodus 29:7,9, etc.
Abihu, Exodus 29:7,9, etc.
Eleazar, Exodus 29:7,9, etc.
Ithamar, Exodus 29:7,9, etc.
Saul, 1 Samuel 10:1.
David, * 1 Samuel 16:13.
Absalom, 2 Samuel 19:10.
Solomon, 1 Kings 1:39.
Jehu, 2 Kings 9:6.
Joash, 2 Kings 11:12.
Jehoahaz, 2 Kings 23:30.

* David was anointed three times, viz: by Samuel, 1 Samuel 16:13; by the men of Judah, 2 Samuel 2:4; by the elders of Israel, 2 Samuel 5:3.

It will be observed from the above list that Saul, the man of man's choice, is thus stamped with the number 6. David, the man of God's choice is stamped with the number seven. For Saul and David are the sixth and seventh respectively in order. The words, "a man after God's own heart," mean simply a man of God's choice, and not that God approved of all the sins which David fell into.

of age was Jesus when He first appears in public (Luke 2:42) and utters His first-recorded words.

of angels mark the perfection of angelic powers (Matthew 26:53).

sometimes denotes interruption or defect in human government, while THE NUMBER OF OCCURRENCES of words agrees with its signification. for example: aulh, aulee, "palace," occurs twelve times.

Additional Answer:

In biblical numerology, some consider the number 12 to indicate 'organizational beginnings' and give the 12 months, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 Apostles as examples. Also, multiples are the same but only intensified like the 144,000 of Revelation.
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