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Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types


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(c) This number denotes GOD's governmental control of His people. In the twelve tribes, He controlled their politics; in the twelve loaves, He sustained and provided enough for all; in the twelve spies, He controlled their knowledge and information, even though some disobeyed; in the twelve disciples, He showed His lordship over the church and His ability to provide the gifts the church needs; in the twelve gates to Jerusalem, He manifested His control over who and what entered the kingdom. Twelve Patriarchs. Genesis 42:13 (c) The meanings of the names of these twelve men constitute a wonderful story of GOD's dealings with His people.

Reuben means sonship.

Gad means companionship

Simeon means scholarship.

Asher means fellowship

Levi means lordship.

Issachar means partnership

Judah means worship.

Zebulon means comradeship.

Dan means judgeship.

Joseph means leadership.

Naphtali means workmanship.

Benjamin means heirship.

Twelve Stones in the Breastplate of the High Priest: ( Exodus 28:17-20). (c)

1. Sardius, the ruby or red stone on which was placed Reuben's name. As we hear about the Blood and accept the Saviour, we become children of GOD.

2. Topaz, a greenish, yellow stone on which was engraved the name of Simeon. The revelations he received from GOD were to be eternal in duration and divine in character.

3. Carbuncle, a green stone really known as the "emerald" on which was engraved the name of Levi. The lordship of GOD continues forever and ever and is the means of producing blessing in this life and in the next.

4. Emerald, not the emerald of today. The word was used for several brilliant red stones probably the garnet. On this stone was engraved the name of Judah, for worship is based on the efficacy of the Blood.

5. Sapphire, beautiful, clear, and sparkling on which was engraved the name of Dan, for the throne of judgment must be transparent with no taint or stain upon it.

6. Diamond, not the diamond of our day, for records would indicate that the Hebrews had no means of engraving on this hard stone. It probably was alabaster for the name of Naphtali was engraved upon it and this unusual workmanship made it most attractive.

7. Ligure, probably the opal on which appeared the name of GOD. Companionship involves so many beautiful attributes and attitudes that the flashing colors of the opal beautifully represent it.

8. Agate, beautifully striped with white, red and green. On this was placed the name of Asher for fellowship is white in its character, green in its perpetuity and red in its fidelity.

9. Amethyst. This beautiful blue stone had the name of Issachar upon it for in every partnership, there is true fidelity and faithful devotion.

10. Beryl, sometimes called the arrow stone. It was the hardest substance for cutting known to the ancients. The name Zebulon was engraved upon it for comradeship is to be firmly fixed and not easily disappointed.

11. The onyx, the banded carnelian, beautifully striped with black and white, and brown and white. Upon this was engraved the name of Joseph for leadership is certainly varied in its character and diversified in its expressions.

12. Jasper, the chalcedony, a dark green stone. Upon this was the name of Benjamin for we are to be eternally heirs of GOD and to enjoy in perfect bliss the blessings of that happy relationship. It is interesting to note that in Revelation 21:19 these stones are found in the foundation of the New Jerusalem, while the names of the twelve patriarchs are found upon the pearls which constitute the gates (see verses Revelation 21:12 and Revelation 21:21). Pearls are the result of suffering. They are produced by the anguish of the oyster. Thus we see that the twelve patriarchs through their sorrows and sufferings were promoted and elevated to be pearls when the Lord had finished with their training. The meaning of the names is given here:

The Twelve Disciples - Mark 3:16-19 (c)

1. Simon: hearing with acceptance. Evidently it is hearing the Gospel message about the Lord JESUS which saves the soul. This is the beginning of the Christian life and is the beginning of the story of the Twelve. Peter - a rock. As soon as one hears with acceptance, he immediately becomes a part of the body of CHRIST and partakes of His nature. Cephas - a stone. The one who hears acceptably becomes united to CHRIST and is at once useful in the house that GOD is building.

2. James: supplanter. The things of GOD have supplanted the things of earth and the path of separation is begun. This first James is the Son of Zebedee.

3. John: the Lord hath begun to speak. How true it is that when one is delivered from the world and the devil, he becomes GOD's mouthpiece to carry GOD's message.

4. Andrew: a strong man. GOD gives strength to His children to continue in the service of the King and in the path of separation.

5. Phillip: loving. The Christian loves his Lord, loves the Word of GOD, loves the people of GOD, and loves the service of GOD.

6. Bartholomew: son of his father. Those who are separated to the Lord and love the things of Heaven are soon known as members of GOD's family for they become more and more like their Lord.

7. Matthew: gift of the Lord. It is true that GOD's people are gifted from GOD for the various works which they are privileged to do.

8. Thomas: a twin. It speaks of companionship and comradeship for the Lord sent them out two and two. He said, "Two are better than one." ( Ecclesiastes 4:9).

9. James, the son of Alphaeus: the supplanter. In this case, it is a godly Christian supplanting what may have remained of the old life with the blessed provisions of the new life.

10. Thaddeus: (Lebbeaus, Judas, the brother of James, son of Alphaeus). The word means praise of GOD. The one who is wholly devoted to the Lord finds much occasion for praise, worship, gladness and thanksgiving.

11. Simon: (Zelotes, also Simon the Canaanite). Again the word means "hearing acceptably." In this instance, it is hearing GOD's voice in directing the path, guiding the way, revealing His will, and instructing the Christian concerning his service.

12. Judas Iscariot: the traitor. He is always named last. It is always said of him, "who also betrayed Him." The outstanding sin of rejecting CHRIST marks him for time and eternity.

The Twelve Spies: Numbers 13:4, Numbers 13:15 (c)

1. Shammuah: hearing of the Lord. This is the beginning of the life of faith. The ears are closed to other voices to hear and believe the call of GOD.

2. Shaphat: a judge. As soon as one listens to GOD, he judges his path, and turns from evil to obey GOD.

3. Caleb: as the heart. Out of the heart proceed the issues of life. Those whose hearts are right with GOD will receive GOD's blessings.

4. Igal: whom GOD will avenge. The believer whose heart is right with GOD leaves his judgments in GOD's hands.

5. Joshua: a saviour. Those who listen to GOD, have their hearts filled with GOD's love, and have turned their lives over to the Lord, become interested in the salvation of others.

6. Palti: deliverance of the Lord. Those who go about as saviours of men by their ministry and service are delivered by the Lord from their enemies and from want.

7. Gaddiel: the Lord is my happiness. Those who listen to GOD and are busy in His service find their joy in the things of GOD.

8. Gaddi: a troop of GOD. GOD's servant is entitled to receive and does receive his assets and reinforcements from Heaven.

9. Ammiel: one of the people of GOD. Those who are walking with the Lord and are busy in His service soon get a reputation for being one of GOD's children.

10. Sethur: mysterious or hidden. This is the only man among the spies whose name is not a glorious one revealing some blessing from Heaven. Strangely enough, the Hebrew letters making up his name produce the number666. It may be that this man headed up the insurrection of the ten spies and instigated the evil report.

11. Nahbi: hidden of the Lord. How true it is that those who are persecuted for the Lord's sake are hidden by Him in His pavilion from the strife of tongues.

12. Geuel: majesty of GOD. After all the walk of faith represented by these names, GOD is victorious at the end and His glory will fill Heaven and earth.

Twelve Sons of Ishmael: Genesis 25:13-15 (c) GOD told Abraham in Genesis 17:20 that Ishmael would be blessed with twelve princes. This is an unusual case in which GOD foretold how many sons a man would have. This prophecy was fulfilled.

1. Nebajoth: high places. This is one of the marks of the ungodly. They are filled with pride, and desire to run their own lives, and the lives of others as well.

2. Kedar: black skinned. Those who are unsaved are black in GOD's sight and need to be washed in the Blood of the lamb to make them whiter than snow.

3. Adbeel: miracle of GOD. It is indeed a miracle of GOD that He supplies the needs of the ungodly and particularly that He has preserved the Ishmaelites through all the centuries until this present day.

4. Mibsam: sweet odour. Frequently there is found among the unsaved and the ungodly attractive qualities which make them delightful citizens though they are strangers to the grace of GOD.

5. Mishma: report. Strangely enough the believers of false religions are unusually busy propagating their faith in far greater measure than the true Christians.

6. Dumah: silence. Among the ungodly there is only silence regarding the grace of GOD, the loveliness of CHRIST, the value of the Blood and all those precious themes which are loved by the Christians.

7. Massa: burden. The unrighteous are constantly burdened for they have no one to lift the load and no means of getting rid of their sins.

8. Hadar: enclosure. Those who are strangers to GOD live for themselves and shut out the Word of GOD, the love of GOD, and the people of GOD. They surround themselves with darkness and erect bars lest the Gospel should intrude into their lives.

9. Tema: a desert. Truly the unrighteous do live in a desert. Their voices are fleeting, their happiness is transient, their way is a way of tears and they know not the river of the water of life nor the green pastures provided by the good Shepherd.

10. Jetur: an enclosure. As the social life of the unsaved is enclosed in order to eliminate and exclude GOD's religion, GOD's Word, and GOD's people, so the mind also is closed lest they should see, hear, understand and be saved.

11. Naphish: cheerful. The world of the ungodly is filled with multitudinous and multivarious methods of providing happiness for those who have shut out GOD and desire not the blessings of Christianity.

12. Kedemah: eastward. The sun rises in the east. They imitated Isaac as sinners often imitate Christians in their religious activities. The Mohammedans who are the descendants of Ishmael always face eastward when they pray.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Watson, Walter. Entry for 'Twelve'. Wilson's Dictoinary of Bible Types. 1957.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, November 23rd, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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