In this article, we will continue on the journey of numbers in the Bible. This time around, we will be looking at the Biblical meaning of the number 8. So, grab your Bible, and let’s dig in…
Numbers can be a vital part of interpreting different parts of the Bible. All numbers have significant Biblical meanings attached to them that can be valuable in our Bible study and how we interpret various scriptures. Most Christians realize that the numbers 6, 7, and 9 have essential spiritual symbolism, but few know about the value of the number 8.
This is why I have been working on a series on the numbers in the Bible. So, we can go over each one and see what God’s Word says.
When we study the meaning of 8 in the Bible, we can see that it might be one of the most important numbers. Let’s look at what you can read in verses where the Bible uses the number 8.
What Does Number 8 Mean In Hebrew?
We can learn a lot from Jewish traditions. It can help indicate a lot about the meanings of numbers, and the first place to look is the Hebrew alphabet since every letter in ancient Hebrew has a numeric value. Isn’t that cool?
The eighth Hebrew letter is called “chet” or “cheth.” It has three primary meanings associated with it:
- The letter resembles a gate and is often interpreted as indicating that something is fenced in.
- It is closely associated with life and living, mainly because it chet is also the first letter in the words “chayim” and “chayah,” which mean precisely that.
- Lastly, the letter also refers to grace since the Hebrew word for grace, “chen,” also starts with it.
With all these aspects combined, Messianic Jews believe that the number 8 and the letter chet refer to Jesus – He ties all the factors together because He is the Way (the fence gate – John 10:7).
Then Jesus said to them again, “Most assuredly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. 8 All who ever came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. 9 I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. 10 The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. – John 10:7
He is also the only way to get true life, through His gift of grace. Within this context, the number 8 also refers to the new creation, as we will soon see.
There are also numerous other aspects of the number 8 that apply to Jewish beliefs, traditions, and customs.
- The festival of Hannukah lasts for eight days.
- The Passover festival also lasts eight days.
- There are eight strings and five tassels on each “tzitzit” or fringe on the Jewish prayer cloth (the “tallit”). These are there to remind the Jews of the 613 commandments (“mitzvahs”) in the Torah. I talk more about this in my study on the color blue.
- Jews have a concept of the eighth day, which refers to the day humanity started caring for the world. It’s the day after the Sabbath and the start of the next phase or new week in the world’s existence after creation. This is another nod towards 8 meaning new beginnings.
The Biblical Meaning Of The Number 8
Now that we have a background of the meaning of the number 8, we can look at how it’s used in the Bible to understand it better.
Jewish Boys Can Be Circumcised When They Are 8 Days Old
According to Leviticus 12:3, Jewish boys were to be circumcised when they were 8 days old. Of course, we can see that this wasn’t a hard rule as babies could not be circumcised on the Sabbath and that anyone who became a Jew when they were older could still be circumcised. However, God gave the 8th day as a guide for when circumcision should happen.
If you would like to nerd out on the scientific or medical reason why the 8th day is important in circumcision then you might enjoy this read: Scientific Evidence For Circumcision On The Eighth Day
Colossians 2:11-12 says, “In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the powerful working of God, Who raised Him from the dead.”
These verses, along with Romans 2:28-29, directly bring physical circumcision in line with the spiritual or symbolic circumcision that we as believers have, with baptism as the symbol of it. We are united with Christ and spiritually circumcised.
Thus, again, we can see that the number eight is tied closely with the work of Jesus and with us being united with Him as new creations.
There Were Eight People On The Ark
According to Genesis 7:7, eight people went on the ark before the great flood. They were Noah, his wife, his three sons, and his sons’ wives.
We can see two things from the number 8 in this case:
- The ark is the symbol of God’s grace. It’s God giving the righteous a way to escape His wrath when it would have been entirely within His rights to destroy everything He had created. So, we see the number eight tied with grace and as a prophetic sign pointing to Christ.
- The flood was a new beginning, almost a new creation, after the flood. Eight people had the opportunity to start again and to do better than humans had managed to do before.
So we can see, again, that the number eight points to grace, Jesus, and a new beginning!
According to Jewish law regarding Passover, there’s a strict line of dates and times that must be followed. This line is reflected in the days around Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.
- The sacrificial lamb was to be chosen on the 10th day of the month, Nisan. That’s also the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey, and we can see throughout John 12 and 13 that Jesus knew that His time had come. Scholars regard that event as the moment the Jewish leaders finally decided to take action against Him.
- The sacrifice of the lamb must happen on the 14th day of Nisan. That’s the day that Jesus died on the cross and was buried.
- Three full days later, Jesus rose from the grave, victorious. That happened on the 17th day of Nisan, on the 8th day after He was selected as the sacrificial lamb.
- His resurrection also happened on the day after the Sabbath, which would be the eighth day.
Once again, with Jesus’ death and resurrection, we see the number 8 resembling Jesus and the new creation He is the first of.
References After Jesus’ Resurrection
After the resurrection of Jesus, we still see a few references to the number 8 that tie in directly to Him and to the fact that He has come to make us new.
- Jesus appeared to people eight times after He was resurrected:
- Mary Magdalene (Mark 16:9-11)
- The disciples traveled to Emmaus (Luke 24)
- All the disciples except Thomas (John 20:19-24)
- Again to all the disciples, with Thomas present (John 20:26-29)
- He showed Himself to 500 believers (1 Corinthians 15:4-7)
- He met His disciples in Galilee (Matthew 28:16-17)
- Again on the shores of the sea of Galilee (John 21:1-24).
- Lastly, just before His ascension on the Mount of Olives (Acts 1)
- From what we know eight men went on to write the entirety of the New Testament, namely Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James, Peter, and Jude).
- When we look at traditional Hebrew Gematria (the study of numerical values of letters and words), the name of Jesus in the original Greek translation of the New Testament (Iesous) has a numerical value of 888. (Note that Gematria should always be taken with a grain of salt, but it’s interesting to see nonetheless!)
The Spiritual Meaning Of The 8
To sum things up, let’s look at the prophetic and spiritual meaning of the number 8.
As we have seen throughout this study, there are four key meanings behind the number 8.
- New Beginnings
- New Creation
- And the best….Jesus!
The number eight occurs so often with either a direct or prophetic link to Jesus, His resurrection, and the consequences (that we can be a new creation with Him) that it becomes impossible to ignore the facts. It’s too much to be a coincidence. So, when we see the number eight referenced in the Bible, we can rejoice in the incredible victory that Jesus won and the grace we received to be part of it.
Numbers of the Bible Series
Have you ever stopped to marvel at the beauty and depth within God’s Word? Numbers in the Bible reveal countless mysteries and teachings, many of which can be discovered by taking a deeper look. I have been excitedly working on a series that shines a light on these numbers. If you want to learn more about this incredible journey, check out the articles below for insightful meanings and stories!
Numbers in the Bible Series
Melissa is a passionate minister, speaker and an ongoing learner of the Bible. She has been involved in church and vocational ministry for over 18 years. And is the founder of Think About Such Things. She has the heart to equip the saints by helping them get into the Word of God and fall more in love with Jesus. She also enjoys family, cooking, and reading.
She has spoken in churches in California, Oregon, Texas, and Mexico and has been featured in Guidepost Magazine and All Recipes Magazine. Read More…