The Number “12”

(The number of Faith and God’s Divine Rule/Kingdom)

Meaning and Symbolism

  • The number twelve carries religious, mythological and magical symbolism, generally representing perfection, entirety, or cosmic order in traditions since antiquity The Trinity to the four corners of the horizon – 3 X 4.
  • Symbolizes the command and the good, and governs the space and the time, that is to say, the operation of the Cosmos, from where its designation of cosmic number.
  • Symbol of material and spiritual food, because of the 12 loaves of bread which Jesus Christ broke to the Last Supper, Himself being the Bread of Life.
  • Number attributed to the government of the world or the cosmos.
  • It is the creative capacity, and in some religions, it expresses also the Divine Mother.

In the Bible

  • The Bible makes it a point to mention the savior of humanity only twice in his first 12 years, 1st and 12th. This is no accident as the number 12 is symbolic of God’s spiritual kingdom. Jesus was sent to prepare a spiritual kingdom in the heavens for all mankind. The Old Testament Book of Genesis states there were 12 sons of Jacob and those 12 sons formed the 12 tribes of Israel.
  • 12 patriarchs from and including Shem (one of Noah’s sons saved in the Ark) to Jacob (Israel): Shem, Arphaxad, Salah, Heber, Peleg, Reu, Serug, Nahor, Terah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – Genesis 11:9–32; 25:1–28:22
  • The New Testament tells us that Jesus had 12 apostles.
  • According to the Book of Revelation, the kingdom of God has 12 gates guarded by 12 angels.
  • Solomon’s throne of power had 6 steps leading up to where he sat, and there was a lion on each side of the six steps (12 total) – 1 Kings 10:18-20; 2 Chronicles 9:19
  • The 12 administrators of Solomon for all Israel -1 Kings 4:7
    Manasseh was 12 years old when he became king – 2 Kings 21:1; 2 Chronicles 33:1
  • 12 apostles will sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel in the regeneration – Matthew 19:28
  • 12 wells of water at Elim – Exodus 15:27; Numbers 33:9
  • 12 loaves of permanent offerings on the golden table – Leviticus 24:5
  • 12 loaves of bread were broken by Jesus Christ for the Last Supper -Luke 22:14–19
  • Elisha was plowing with 12 yoke of oxen when he was admitted into the College of prophets – 1 Kings 19:19
  • It took 12 years before a young Israelite male could be admitted as a “son of the law.
  • The Bride of Jesus in Revelation 12, the Church, wears a crown containing 12 stars
  • 12 baskets of bread were leftovers after the miraculous feeding of the 5,000 – Mark 6:41–44
  • 12 men were appointed to explore or spy the land of Canaan – Due1:23
  • Prophetic writings in the OT are completed with the twelve “minor” prophets of the Old Testament: Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi.
  • The number 12 signifies the perfection of government or rule.
  • According to Bible scholars, 12 is the product of 3, which signifies the divine, and 4, which signifies the earthly.
  • The heavenly bodies are also connected to the number 12 since the stars pass through the 12 signs of the zodiac in their heavenly procession.
  • The number 12 has further significance, as it represents authority, appointment, and completeness. The number 666 is used to represent the devil and hell, whereas 12, 12, 12 is believed to signify God and heaven. The number 12 is also associated with the government of the cosmos.
  • The Virgin Mary stayed in the temple for 12 years.
  • Jesus was 12 years old when he questioned the scholars in the temple.
  • There are 12 legions of angels.
  • The tree of life in the new creation will produce 12 types of fruit.
  • The number of 144,000 servants of God is the sum of 12 x 12,000 (12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel)
  • The dimensions and description given of the New Jerusalem in the Bible’s Book of Revelation have multiples of the number 12.
  • The wall of the city has 12 foundations and the names of the 12 apostles.
  • The city measured 12,000 furlongs and the wall was 144 cubits, which is 12 x 12.
  • The number 12 is symbolic of God’s spiritual kingdom, both in heaven and on earth, when the earth and heavens will be created anew.
  • Daniel 12:12 “Blessed is the one who waits for and reaches the end of the 1,335 days.” 1 + 3 + 3 + 5 totals 12
  • Twelve years of blood – “And a woman who had a flow of blood for twelve years and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind him (Jesus), and touched the fringe of his garment; and immediately her flow of blood ceased.” Luke 8:43
  • The 12 stars of the crown -The twelve stars of the crown on the women in Revelation 12:1 is the foundation for the design of the European Union flag
  • The 12 Gates of Jerusalem – “It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed; on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates.

In other religions

  • The Twelve Olympians are the principal gods of the pantheon, they were preceded by twelve Titans, and Hercules carries out twelve labors.
  • Several sets of twelve cities are identified in history as a dodecapolis, the most familiar being the Etruscan League. In ancient Rome, the twelve lictors carried fasces of twelve rods.
  • There are twelve Jyotirlinga(Self-formed Lingas) of Lord Shiva in Hindu temples across India according to the Shaiva tradition.
  • The Sun god Surya has 12 names.
  • There are 12 Petals in Anahata or “heart chakra”.
  • There are frequently said to be 12 Âdityas.
  • The chief Norse god, Odin, has twelve sons.
  • In the King Arthur Legend, Arthur is said to subdue 12 rebel princes and to win 12 great battles against Saxon invaders.
  • In Twelver Shi’a Islam, there are twelve Imams, legitimate successors of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. These twelve early leaders of Islam are—Ali, Hasan, Husayn, and nine of Husayn’s descendants. Sura 12 in the Quran is sura Yusuf, narrating the story of the sons of Jacob.

In Mathematics

  • Twelve is a composite number, the smallest number with exactly six divisors, its divisors being 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and 12. Twelve is also a highly composite number, the next one being twenty-four.
  • Twelve is the smallest abundant number since it is the smallest integer for which the sum of its proper divisors (1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 6 = 16) is greater than itself. Twelve is a sublime number, a number that has a perfect number of divisors, and the sum of its divisors is also a perfect number. Since there is a subset of 12’s proper divisors that add up to 12 (all of them but with 4 excluded), 12 is a semiperfect number.
  • If an odd perfect number is of the form 12k + 1, it has at least twelve distinct prime factors.
  • A twelve-sided polygon is a dodecagon. A twelve-faced polyhedron is a dodecahedron. Regular cubes and octahedrons both have 12 edges, while regular icosahedrons have 12 vertices. Twelve is a pentagonal number. The densest three-dimensional lattice sphere packing has each sphere touching 12 others, and this is almost certainly true for any arrangement of spheres (the Kepler conjecture). Twelve is also the kissing number in three dimensions.
  • Twelve is the smallest weight for which a cusp form exists. This cusp form is the discriminant Δ(q) whose Fourier coefficients are given by the Ramanujan τ-function and which is (up to a constant multiplier) the 24th power of the Dedekind eta function. This fact is related to a constellation of interesting appearances of the number twelve in mathematics ranging from the value of the Riemann zeta function at −1 i.e. ζ(−1) = −1/12, the fact that the abelianization of SL(2,Z) has twelve elements and even the properties of lattice polygons.
  • There are twelve Jacobian elliptic functions and twelve cubic distance-transitive graphs.
  • There are 12 Latin squares of size 3 × 3.
  • The duodecimal system (1210 [twelve] = 1012), which is the use of 12 as a division factor for many ancient and medieval weights and measures, including hours, probably originates from Mesopotamia.
  • In base thirteen and higher bases (such as hexadecimal), twelve is represented as C. In base 10, the number 12 is a Harshad number.

In Science

  • The atomic number of magnesium in the periodic table.
  • The Standard Model identifies twelve types of elementary fermions.
  • The human body has twelve cranial nerves.
  • The duodenum (from Latin Duodecim, “twelve”) is the first part of the small intestine, which is about twelve inches (30 cm) long. More precisely, this section of the intestine was measured not in inches but in finger widths. In fact, in German the name of the duodenum is Zwölffingerdarm and in Dutch the name is twaalfvingerige darm, both meaning “twelve-finger bowel”.
  • Force 12 on the Beaufort wind force scale corresponds to the maximum wind speed of a hurricane.
  • Notably, twelve is the number of full lunations in a solar year, and the number of years for a full cycle of Jupiter (the brightest of the ancient “wandering stars”), hence the number of months in a solar calendar, as well as the number of signs in the Western and the Chinese zodiac.

In General

  • The lunar year is 12 lunar months. Adding 11 or 12 days completes the solar year.
  • Most calendar systems – solar or lunar – have twelve months in a year.
  • The Chinese use a 12-year cycle for time-reckoning called Earthly Branches.
  • There are twelve hours in a half-day, numbered one to twelve for both the ante meridiem (a.m.) and the post meridiem (p.m.). 12:00 p.m. is midday or noon, and 12:00 a.m. is midnight.
  • The basic units of time (60 seconds, 60 minutes, 24 hours) are evenly divisible by twelve into smaller units.
  • ASCII and Unicode code point for form feed.
    The number of function keys on most PC keyboards (F1 through F12).
    The number of keys in any standard digital telephone (1 through 9, 0, * and #).
    Microsoft’s Rich Text Format specification assigns numbers congruent to 12 mod 256 to variants of the French language.
  • There are twelve basic hues in the color wheel; 3 primary colors (red, yellow, blue), 3 secondary colors (orange, green & purple) and 6 tertiary colors (names for these vary, but are intermediates between the primaries and secondaries).
  • In the game of craps, a dice roll of two sixes (value 12) on the come-out roll constitutes a “craps” and the shooter (dice thrower) loses immediately.
  • Twelve is a character in the Street Fighter video game series.
  • 12 stars are featured on the Flag of Europe
  • There are 12 troy ounces in a troy pound (used for precious metals).
  • In the former British currency system, there were twelve pence in a shilling.
  • In Greek mythology, the number of Labours of Heracles was increased from ten to make twelve.
  • In English, twelve is the number of greatest magnitude that has just one syllable.
  • There are normally twelve pairs of ribs in the human body.
  • The Twelve Tables or Lex Duodecim Tabularum, more informally simply Duodecim Tabulae was the ancient legislation underlying Roman law.
  • In the United States, twelve people are appointed to sit on a jury for felony trials in all but four states, and in federal and Washington, D.C. courts. The number of jurors gave the title to the play (and subsequent films) Twelve Angry Men.
  • Twelve people have walked on Earth’s moon.
  • The United States of America is divided into twelve Federal Reserve Districts (Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco); American paper currency has serial numbers beginning with one of twelve different letters, A through L, representing the Federal Reserve Bank from which the currency originated.
  • According to UFO conspiracy theory, Majestic 12 is a secret committee, allegedly set up by U.S. President Harry S. Truman to investigate the Roswell UFO incident and cover-up future extraterrestrial contact.
  • 12 is the number of the French department Aveyron.
  • King Arthur’s round table had 12 knights plus King Arthur himself.
  • 12 inches in a foot.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous has 12 steps, 12 traditions and 12 concepts for world service.
  • Wilhelm Heinrich Schüßler developed a list of 12 biochemical cell salts, also known as tissue salts.

In music

  • Twelve is the number of pitch classes in an octave, not counting the duplicated (octave) pitch. Also, the total number of major keys, (not counting enharmonic equivalents) and the total number of minor keys (also not counting equivalents). This applies only to twelve-tone equal temperament, the most common tuning used today in western influenced music.
  • The twelfth is the interval of an octave and a fifth. Instruments such as the clarinet which behave as a stopped cylindrical pipe overblow at the twelfth.
  • The twelve-tone technique (also dodecaphony) is a method of musical composition devised by Arnold Schoenberg. Music using the technique is called twelve-tone music.
  • The Twelve-bar blues is one of the most prominent chord progressions in popular music.
  • 12-inch record, see Phonograph record#78 rpm disc sizes.
  • The numbers song 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 song on Sesame Street sung by the Pointer Sisters.

In Sports

  • In both soccer and American football, the number 12 can be a symbolic reference to the fans because of the support they give to the 11 players on the field. Texas A&M University reserves the number 12 jersey for a walk-on player who represents the original “12th Man”, a fan who was asked to play when the team’s reserves were low in a college American football game in 1922. Similarly, Bayern Munich, Hammarby, Feyenoord, Atlético Mineiro, Flamengo, Seattle Seahawks, Portsmouth, and Cork City do not allow field players to wear the number 12 on their jersey because it is reserved for their supporters.
  • In Canadian football, 12 is the maximum number of players that can be on the field of play for each team at any time.
  • In cricket, another sport with eleven players per team, teams may select a “12th man”, who may replace an injured player for the purpose of fielding (but not batting, bowling or keeping wicket).
  • In women’s lacrosse, each team has 12 players on the field at any given time, except in penalty situations.
  • In rugby league, one of the starting second-row forwards wears the number 12 jersey in most competitions. An exception is in the Super League, which uses static squad numbering.
  • In rugby union, one of the starting centers, most often but not always the inside center, wears the 12 shirt.
  • In an NBA game, a quarter lasts 12 minutes.

For More Studies on Numbers Please Visit the “Number Studies” page.