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 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 does the number twelve represent Solomon's Temple?
The temple of Solomon has twelve as the predominating factor, in contrast with the Tabernacle, which has five predominating. 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:
Twelve and the New Jerusalem
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. Those sealed in Revelation 7:4 will be 144,000, and all that has to do with the Twelve Tribe, such as the stones in the High Priest's breastplate, the stones taken out of the Jordan, etc. etc. and therefore we have not referred to all such reference in these pages.
Who were the 12 people specially ANOINTED to serve in government?
Twelve person 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, 1Samuel 10:1.
David, 1Samuel 16:13.
Absalom, 2Samuel 19:10.
Solomon, 1Kings 1:39.
Jehu, 2Kings 9:6.
Joash, 2Kings 11:12.
Jehoahaz, 2Kings 23:30.
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 seven. For Saul and David are the sixth and seventh respectively in order. The words, "a man after God's own heart," means simply a man of God's choice, and not, as infidels are never tired of asserting, that God approved of all the sins which David fell into.
At what age did Jesus first appear in public?
Twelve years of age was Jesus when He first appears in public (Luke 2:42) and utters His first recorded words (see number 1).
Legions of Angels
Twelve legions of angels mark the perfection of angelic powers (Matthew 26:53).
Additional commentary on the Biblical Meaning of 12 *
Twelve is found 187 times total in Scripture, 22 of which are in the book of Revelation. The significance of the number 12 is that it represents divine authority and appointment, as well as governmental foundation and perfection, and shows completeness. Twelve is also used as a signature of Israel. Truth is symbolized by 144, or 12 x 12.
There are twelve divisions of heaven called the Mazzaroth, which God uses for signs and seasons. The testimony of the stars is numerically in harmony God's word "The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork" (Psalms 19:1).
There were 12 sons of Jacob, whose families formed the 12 tribes of Israel with 12 princes; there were also 12 princes of Ishmael.
The high priest’s breastplate, used for judgment, had 12 stones representing the 12 tribes. The showbread consisted of 12 loaves. During the period of the judges, 12 judges judged Israel. Solomon appointed 12 officers over Israel.
At age 12, Jesus appeared at the temple. Jesus ordained twelve apostles, who were sent with authority to preach the Gospel and to be witnesses of His resurrection. After His resurrection, Jesus told the apostles that He had been given all authority in heaven and earth - the divine authority of God.
During the great tribulation, 12,000 from each of the twelve tribes of Israel are saved, totaling 144,000 (Revelation 7). A second 144,000 are gathered from the earth to serve the Lamb and follow Him (Revelation 14:1-5). The bride of Christ is pictured with a crown of twelve stars (Revelation 12:1).
The New Jerusalem has twelve gates of pearls, twelve angels at the gates and the names of the 12 tribes of Israel over the gates. The wall of the city has 12 foundations of precious stones; in them are the names of the twelve apostles. The wall is 144 cubits high (12 x 12). The city is 12,000 furlongs (1,500 miles) square.