In Chapter 7, the number twelve appears for the first time.
The 12 columns and enormous processing units in the first room of the massive underground fully automated facility described in Chapter 7 are symbolic of the 12 tribes of Israel.
At different times throughout scripture, the dozen tribes of the nation of Israel dealt with tremendous hardships. Those hardships are symbolized by the material that gets dumped into those giant processing units. In the book, this is happening 24/7 to symbolize the fact that antisemitism is still going on to this day.
The Jewish people have been taking crap for a long, long time. Some of it, as scripture shows, was brought on as a consequence of their own disobedience and rebellion. A lot of it, however, is uninvited bigotry and persecution through the centuries and millennia since biblical times. There is no rationale explanation for this… except that it is prophesied about in God’s Word. [One passage of the several that can be found is Deuteronomy 28:37 “You shall become a horror, a proverb, and a taunt among all the people where the LORD drives you.”]
However, the Bible also reveals something else; a hope-giving perspective on all the hardships the Jewish people have long endured through history. In Genesis 22:18 Abraham – the father of many nations, Israel chief among them – was told that all the nations of the world would be blessed through him.
If what we can read in scripture (about all that Israel went through) is all there is to learn about the goodness and faithfulness of God, that would surely be enough to appreciate the Jewish people. However, do an Internet search for yourself to learn about the incredible positive contribution that Jewish individuals and groups have had on the world at large – completely disproportionate, by far, to any other race or nation or people group – and you will not be able to deny the obvious truth: this nation, these people, have been a tremendous blessing to all the nations of the world.
One other, bigger, source of hope: the ultimate redemption of the world. John 1:17 & 29; 1 John 2:2; Psalm 22:27-31; and Ephesians 1:4 & 22-23 are but a few passages that clue us in to the paradigm shifting message delivered by an unapologetic Jewish rabbi named Yeshua. There is no bigger blessing to the world than the one delivered by Yeshua (Jesus).