3272. 'Twelve princes of their peoples' means all the first and foremost features of that spiritual Church. This is clear from the meaning of 'twelve' as all things of faith and so of the Church, dealt with in 577, 2089, 2129 (end), 2130 (end); from the meaning of 'princes' as first and foremost features, dealt with in 1482, 2089; and from the meaning of 'peoples' as those who are governed by truths, dealt with in 1259, 1260, and so those who belong to the spiritual Church, for they are said to be those with whom truths predominate. The fact that all numbers in the Word mean real things becomes quite clear from the number twelve which occurs so many times. Whenever that number is used in the Word it means all things. For example, the twelve tribes in the Old Testament and the twelve apostles in the New mean all things of faith, and so all things of the Church. Here 'twelve princes' accordingly means all the first and foremost features of that Church which are represented by just so many sons of Ishmael.
 That the number twelve means those things becomes clear from what has been introduced in the places mentioned above, as well as from the following in the Word: In John,
I heard the number of the sealed out of every tribe of Israel - twelve thousand sealed out of the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand sealed out of the tribe of Reuben, twelve thousand sealed out of the tribe of Gad, and so on. Rev 7:4-6, and following verses.
Here 'twelve thousand sealed out of every tribe' means nothing else than that everyone who receives faith, that is, who receives the good that accompanies it, is saved. In the same book,
A woman encircled with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. Rev 12:1.
'A woman' stands for the Church, 252, 253, 'the sun' for celestial love, 'the moon' for spiritual love, 30-38, 1529, 1530, 2441, 2495. 'Twelve stars' stands for all things of faith - 'stars' being cognitions of good and truth, which are matters of faith, 2495, 2849.
 In the same book,
The holy city New Jerusalem, having twelve gates, and above the gates twelve angels, and names written which are those of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. He measured the city with the measuring rod, twelve thousand stadia. And he measured its wall, a hundred and forty-four cubits (twelve twelves), which is the measure of a man, that is, of an angel. The twelve gates were twelve pearls. Rev 21:12, 14, 16, 17, 21.
Here nothing else is meant by the holy city than the Lord's spiritual kingdom, and by the gates, wall, and foundations the things that constitute charity and faith, all of which things are meant by the frequently mentioned number twelve. The fact that neither the twelve tribes nor the twelve apostles are meant literally may be recognized by anyone. In the same book,
In the middle of its street, and of the river, on this side and on that, was the tree of life bearing twelve fruits, yielding its fruit each month. Rev 22:2.
'Twelve fruits' means all things of charity.
 In Matthew,
Jesus said, Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on His throne of glory, will sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. Matt 19:28.
Here 'the apostles' is not used to mean the apostles, nor 'thrones' to mean thrones, nor 'tribes' tribes, but matters of faith in their entirety, see 2129. Furthermore when the twelve tribes are referred to in the Old Testament Word they mean all things of the Church. The same applies to the twelve stones set according to the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, in the Urim and Thummim, Exod 28:21; to the twelve loaves of the presence that were laid out on the table, Lev 24:5, 6; and so on with every other reference to twelve. Also the names themselves of the twelve sons of Jacob or Israel contain all things of faith, as will be seen in the Lord's Divine mercy in Chapters 29 and 30 below.