Animals, Colors, Metals, Numbers and Signs in Scripture.
Twelve – The Representative Number
Rev. 12:1 "And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: 2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered."
There are times that women are used in the scriptures to represent covenants: Gal. 4:22 "For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all." As can be seen from this passage, Sarah represented Jerusalem which is above which is said to be the "mother of us all."
The covenant of redemption has a crown of twelve stars. Twelve represents the whole, in this case, the whole of the elect family of God. Stars are also used in the scriptures to represent the great multitude of the elect. The crown of the covenant of redemption is the elect. They are chosen, predestinated, called, justified, and glorified by the covenant work of God: Rom. 8:29, 30, "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified." Furthermore, the covenant of redemption brings forth a man-child who destroys the devil and his works and redeems the elect.
As the above shows, the breastplate of judgment worn by the High Priest had twelve stones engraved with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. While the above passage is full of a lot of symbolism, we will limit our discussion to the twelve stones and the work of the High Priest in connection with the twelve stones. The work of the High Priest in connection with the twelve stones is set forth in the following passage of scripture: Ex. 28 29 "And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the LORD continually. 30 And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the LORD: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually."
As can be seen, the High Priest was to bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the LORD continually. He was to bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart when he went into the holy place, for a memorial before the LORd continually. The totality of the children of Israel was represented by the names of the twelve tribes in the twelve stones that were in the breastplate of judgment. Thus, the twelve represented the whole.
The Levitical priesthood after the order of Aaron was a type of the High Priesthood of the Lord Jesus Christ who was after the order of Melchisedec. When the Lord Jesus Christ went before God in judgment, he had the totality of the elect family of God upon his heart when he went into the Holy Place of Heaven. He literally bore the judgment of the elect children of God upon his heart continually. He bore their judgment upon his heart as the angel declared to Joseph, "fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." He bore their judgment upon his heart when he said, "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day."
He was bearing their judgment upon his heart when he was tempted by the devil in the wilderness. He was bearing their judgment upon his heart when he was in a great agony in the garden. He was bearing their judgment upon his heart when he was mockingly tried by the Sanhedrin counsel, by King Herod and his minions, by Pilate the governor, and by the multitude who mocked him. He bore their judgment upon his heart when they crucified him. Furthermore, he bore their judgment upon his heart when for three hours there was darkness over all the earth and he cried out, "My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me." He bore their judgment upon his heart when he gave up the ghost. He bore their judgment upon his heart when he, after three days, arose a victor over death, hell, and the grave. He bore their judgment upon his heart as he ascended into heaven and appeared before the Father with his own blood as an offering that was accepted on behalf of the elect children of God.
He bears their judgment upon his heart as he stands by the right hand of the throne of the majesty on high to make intercession for his elect children. He will bear their judgment upon his heart in the morning of the resurrection as the elect arise and their dead bodies are changed and fashioned like the uncorruptible body of Christ.
Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.
The number twelve is used in the scriptures as a representative number and it is also used to signify the Kingdom of heaven. In this regard, the above symbols of stones, oxen, and foundations point us to the government and foundation of the Kingdom of heaven:
1. Josh 4:3 "And command ye them, saying, Take you hence out of the midst of Jordan, out of the place where the priests' feet stood firm, twelve stones, and ye shall carry them over with you, and leave them in the lodging place, where ye shall lodge this night."
2. Josh 4:8 "And the children of Israel did so as Joshua commanded, and took up twelve stones out of the midst of Jordan, as the LORD spake unto Joshua, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, and carried them over with them unto the place where they lodged, and laid them down there."
3. Josh 4:9 "And Joshua set up twelve stones in the midst of Jordan, in the place where the feet of the priests which bare the ark of the covenant stood: and they are there unto this day."
4. Josh 4:20 "And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal. 21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones? 22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land. 23 For the LORD your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the LORD your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over: 24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the LORD, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the LORD your God for ever."
5. 1 Kings 7:23 "And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about. 24 And under the brim of it round about there were knops compassing it, ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about: the knops were cast in two rows, when it was cast. 25 It stood upon twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east: and the sea was set above upon them, and all their hinder parts were inward."
6. Rev 21:14 "And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb."
The twelve stones were stones taken from the river Jordan when the children of Israel passed over. They were stones designed to call attention to the mighty works of God when the children would ask in days to come "what meanest this?"
The twelve oxen pointed to the twelve apostles who served as the foundation of the gospel church. Likewise, the gospel church (city in Rev. 21:14) had twelve foundations in which the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb were written.
The Lord said, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." The church is built upon the rock of revealed truth. The Lord chose twelve apostles by which he would reveal his precious truths and lay the foundation for the church: Eph. 2:19 "Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."
The Lord told the twelve in Matthew 19, "Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." As we have previously shown, the twelve tribes are symbolic of the entire elect family of God. We are judged by the works of the twelve apostles which are the New Testament scriptures. Through the New Testament scriptures, our works and actions are judged.
The scriptures also serve as the foundation on which we build our worship and service to God and which govern us in the New Testament church. Thus, the actions of the twelve affect the whole of the church.