“Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.'” (John 11:9-10)
In Chapter 11 of John it is recorded, “…after He heard that Lazarus was ill, Jesus stayed two more days and told His disciples, ‘Let us go to Judea again.’ The disciples said to Him, ‘Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone You, and are You going there again?’ Jesus answered, ‘Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.'” What did Jesus mean by ‘in spirit’?
- Twelve is the Number of the Light
Most of the biblical numbers have spiritual meanings: three is the number of accordance; four, trials; seven, perfection; and twelve, light. The number of the light, 12, is also called the ‘number of promise’ because every Word of God recorded in the Bible is His promise and the Light.
The number 12 often appears in the Bible. Twelve tribes of Israel, twelve disciples of Jesus, twelve gates of pearl and twelve stone foundations of the wall of the City of New Jerusalem, and so on. Let’s look into the twelve apostles of the Lord in order to better understand the spiritual meaning of 12.
After Jesus Christ ascended into Heaven, God appointed Matthias and let him take charge of the position Judas Iscariot had abandoned after betraying Jesus. Thus, Matthias was added to the eleven apostles and the twelve apostles continued to accomplish their duties for the kingdom of God. Why did then God appoint just one more and provide for twelve men to perform the duties of the apostles of the Lord instead of allowing the eleven or thirteen apostles do the duties? God is the Light and accomplishes His will and providence in the Light. In accordance with the number of the Light, God chose twelve disciples and trained them to completely walk in the Light. And when one of them, Judas Iscariot, betrayed the Lord He appointed one more disciple and appointed the twelve apostles so that they might spread the gospel to the ends of the earth and fulfill the will of God.
God shows us the perfection of the Light: He keeps and fulfills all the promises recorded in the Bible and blesses and loves those who walk in the Light. In this sense, He let the names of the twelve apostles who completely walked in the Light, be engraved on the twelve stone foundations of the wall of the City of New Jerusalem. It’s because God joyfully accepts His servants who walk in the Light. Furthermore, it is the number 12 that signifies God’s promise as well as the Light.
- Spiritual Meaning of the Day and the Night
The first chapter of the book of Genesis tells us that God created the sun and the moon and let them govern the day and the night respectively. Man feels the light throughout the day and the darkness throughout the night. He distinguishes the day and the night through the sun and the moon. If there was only darkness in the world, we would not be able to comprehend the light, and vice versa. Since there are the day and the night we can spiritually understand there is also a world of the light and a world of darkness.
Since we can see clearly in the light of day and crime can be avoided, there are comparatively fewer crimes during daylight hours. In the same way, those who walk in the Light can stay away from sin and manifest God’s powerful works because God is in the Light. On the contrary, just as many crimes occur in the dark of night, those who do not dwell in God who is the Light, commit sins and suffer from various works of the devil. For this reason, Jesus said to His disciples, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.” He means the children of God should lay aside the deeds of darkness and walk in the Light.
Since Jesus always walked in the Light, God was with Him all the time and let Him perform amazing signs and wonders. Because the time had not yet come for Him to be crucified, during His earthly ministry Jesus was not afraid of anything. Even though some Jews had tried to stone Him to death, He still went to Judea again along with His disciples and brought Lazarus, who had been dead for 4 days, back to life again.
When we don’t abide in the Light, we are forced to walk in darkness and go the wrong way. But when we abide in the will of God and walk in the Light just as Jesus did, God is with us and we can receive answers and blessings.
- The Twelfth Hour Symbolizes the Perfect Light
The twelfth hour is noon. It is when sunlight shines the brightest. Noon spiritually refers to the true Light. The true and perfect Light among many lights is our Lord Jesus Christ who is the Word, yet He came down to the earth in a human form.
And the perfect light also refers to men of whole spirit who abide in the Lord who is the true Light. Those who completely walk in the Light and abide in the Lord do not stumble. They perform the whole duty of men and fully fulfill their God-given duties. They can please God and dwell in the love of God and they will sit in the glorious positions in Heaven shining like the sun. They can enter the City of New Jerusalem where the throne of God is located and there they will enjoy eternal life with God forever. It is because they will have accomplished the heart of the Lord, become wholly sanctified, and they will have been faithful in all aspects on earth.
Therefore, the children of God who is the Light, have to throw away the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the boastful pride of this life with the hope for Heaven, do the will of God, and resemble the Lord. Those who live in darkness without doing the will of God can never enter the kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 7:21). Those who believe in God must lay aside the deeds of darkness as quickly as possible and put on the armor of the Light.
Dear brothers and sisters, just as many people behave appropriately while it is day because everything is clearly revealed in the daytime, God’s children should put on the Lord Jesus Christ, fulfill the Law with love and be faithful to the kingdom of God.