31Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, to whom the word of the Lord came, saying, “Israel shall be your name,” 1 Kings 18:31
1And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. Matthew 10:1
12It 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— 13on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. Revelation 21:12–14
Are you writing down today’s date for any reason? If you just use the numbers you are writing 12,12,12. I don’t normally attach special significance to numbers other than for coincidental curiosity. However, today’s numbers are a good reminder of something that we can celebrate as God’s Church.
Twelve is the number of God’s Church in both Testaments and for all eternity. The story of the twelve tribes ofIsrael(from the 12 sons of Jacob, whose name God changed toIsrael) tells us that when God makes a covenant with those whom He chooses, he keeps it. He is faithful when we are not, forgiving when we don’t deserve it, and patient with our faults. Though he disciplines, he heals and restores—for the sake of His covenant.
The twelve disciples were called apostles when they were sent out. A disciple is a learner, a follower, by definition. Apostle means “one who is sent”. Jesus chose these twelve of the New Testament to receive the full revelation of God’s Word through Him. He taught them, trained them, and sent them. We today are the beneficiaries of their teaching and preaching. And we are also heirs of their calling, sent to proclaim the forgiveness of sins through Christ.
The twelve of the Old and the New Testaments are theChurchofGodwho first foresaw, and then saw, the promised One. The twelve’s of Revelation 21 point us to the blessed victory for those who remain faithful to the end. We see through John’s vision that it is theChurchofJesus Christthat will stand forever. Despite hardships and setbacks the Church will prevail. God’s Word will never fail.
So be encouraged when you write out today’s date. The numbers themselves are not magic. But they can remind you of the wonderful God we serve—One who perseveres in patience, keeps His promises, and will abide forever. We are the number twelve. He is the number One.