The Myth of the Number Twelve

Myth: the number twelve brings life
Truth: there are many great numbers in the Bible

The Groups of Twelve strategy for coaching leaders has many great strengths. God used it mightily. One of the most negative aspects of the strategy was over-emphasizing the NUMBER twelve and teaching that a special anointing was upon that number. The number twelve is not the only number that carries great weight in the Bible. There were three disciples who had special intimacy with Jesus, Jesus was raised up on the third day, and there were three crosses at Calvary. God created the heavens and earth in seven days, the sabbatical year occurred every seven years. The day of Atonement occurred in the seventh month. Seven signified fulfillment and perfection. The number ten signifies completeness, as illustrated in the Ten Commandments. Forty is associated with God’s mighty acts in the history of Israel and the church.

On top of this, the New Testament provides no evidence that the apostles or other church leaders attached any significance to a specific number of disciples chosen in a church. In Acts, the New Testament history book, you won’t find the apostles diligently looking for twelve disciples in order to follow Jesus’ pattern of twelve disciples. In order to apply theological significance to a particular number of disciples in the church today, it is necessary for the entire bible to give witness to this practice. I find no substantiation for the idealization of the number twelve or any other number in Acts or the Epistles. In addition, it is absent in the rest of church history and 2000 years of theological development.

Follow principles and flee the “annointed number” mentality.

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Joel

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