According to Tom Harpur’s The Pagan Christ (Pages 86-88)
In Luke’s Gospel, we read how Jesus’ parents took him to the temple for what today is called his bar mitzvah — his entry into adult responsibility to the Torah. But Horus and all the other Christ figures also came of age in a special rite at twelve. (Today, bar mitzvahs occur at the age of 13 for boys, and the equivalent for girls, the bat mitzvah, at age 13.)
Significantly, both Horus and Jesus were accompanied by twelve disciples, as were Mithras and Dionysus. After reading Massey and Kuhn, I discovered that this has a deeper spiritual meaning than appears at first sight. A vast flood of light is let in upon Gospel interpretation if it is understood that the twelve disciples of Jesus symbolized the twelve powers of spiritual light energy to be unfolded by man in twelve labours (or stages) of growth, all imaged by the twelve signs of the zodiac. Kuhn says that from the first it should have been seen, “without cavil,” the the twelve apostles were so much more than agents used by a historical personage to found an earthly ecclesiasticism. For when the Gospel Jesus told them they would sit with him on the twelve celestial thrones and judge the twelve tribes of Israel, they moved at once from the realm of personal history into that of “cosmic hierarchism.”
Egypt gave the twelve followers a more definitive name and function. The twelve were astronomical powers, rulers or ‘saviours of the treasure of light.” Because light was the crowning product of all cosmic operation, the saviours of it were the culminating depositories of dynamic agency. They became the twelve great spirit-children of Ra’s unimaginable might. With Horus, they became the twelve who accompanied the god to earth as sowers of the seed and later reapers of the divine harvest. In John, Jesus uses the same sowing and reaping metaphors to describe the mission of his twelve disciples. He says, “I tell you, look around and see how the fields are ripe for harvesting.” Without exposing you to a further mass of detail, let me say simply that the evidence seems incontestable that the twelve disciples represent twelve deific powers, and not men.
In the ancient gnosis, as the soul advances through the scale of evolution, he or she passes through twelve grades of being, adding to his or her estate the quality gained at each level, until his or her absorption of the essence of all nature is complete. These twelve qualities of perfected spiritual understanding are what are represented by the twelve astrological signs of the zodiac. In the ancient wisdom, the sun’s journey through each sign, acquiring the special powers of each, symbolized the soul’s round of the elements and the acquisition of the twelve intelligences. It all had as its basis the passage through the heavens of the solar god, who symbolized the unseen divinity behind and through all things. We are made up of body, mind, and spirit. For each of these there are four elements: fire, air, earth, and water. Combined in the one grand synthesis that constitutes a human being, these twelve aspects create the potential for Christ consciousness.
In the old religions of Egypt, Chaldea, and Greece, the twelve rays of genius in humans were variously represented by the Twelve Saviours of the Treasure of Light, the Twelve Reapers of the Golden Grain, the Twelve Harvesters in the Fields of Amenta, the Twelve Builders, the Twelve Carpenters, the Twelve Potters, the Twelve Weavers of the Pattern, the Twelve Fishermen, the Twelve Rowers of the Boat of Ra (with Horus at the prow), the Twelve Sailors in the Ship of Ra, the Sun. The Twelve Labours of Hercules, the Twelve Sons of Jacob, the Twelve Tribes of Israel, the Twelve Apostles, and the twelve knights of King Arthur’s [round] table all have the same zodiacal, evolutionary, and theological derivation.
And then there are the twelve months of the year. It was no accident that there were twelve gods with Odin in Norse mythology. The whole of the Bible, as anyone familiar with it knows, is permeated by the number twelve and multiples thereof. Twelve times twelve times one thousand gives the figure of 144,000, the symbol for all the “elect” of God in the Book of Revelation.
Well, what can I say? If it’s good enough for Tom Harpur, it’s good enough for me.