E i g h t

8 - Eight - 8

By Andrew Harris 2 March 1999 ©

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Introduction

Eight is seven plus one, and is hence the start of a new order, the beginning of a new era. Eight thus represents regeneration and resurrection. When the flood washed the earth clean, in a type of baptism, eight people were saved in the ark.

Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

1 Peter 3:20

Circumcisn, the sign of belonging to the covenant people, was to be performed on the eighth day.

And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.

Genesis 17:12

This sign of circumcisn was also a symbolic representation of the infilling of the Holy Spirit in the Christian. It should be noted that as well as the more obvious symbolic meaning outlined below, there are other points of similarity between these two covenant symbols. Note in the above verse that the adopted child and indeed the child of the servants living amongst them were also to be a part of the covenant and were seen equally in the eyes of the Lord. This is a point which the Israelite peoples failed to remember right up until the time God poured out the Holy Spirit on the household of the Roman Centurion (Acts 10) in the same manner as on the apostles on the day of pentecost.

In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

Colossians 2:11

We read in the Old Testament that the uncircumcised was to be cut off from the people and was considered to have broken the covenant and was not able to partake of its promises.

And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.

Genesis 17:14

Likewise in the New Testament we read that without the Spirit of God we cannot be a partaker of the new covenant.

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

John 3:5

23But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

John 4:23-24

Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.

1 Corinthians 12:3

For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

Philippians 3:3

Resurrection

Jesus was raised from the dead on the first day of the week. As seven represents the full cycle of the week then the first day of the next week is the eighth day of the first week and the beginning of the new cycle. In the same manner a modern piano has eight notes in the octave. There being seven in the scale and the eighth is the repeat of the first and the beginning the cycle again.

With this in mind it is interesting to note that the Bible records eight individual ressurections other than the Lord Jesus and the saints.

(1) The first (1)

17And it came to pass after these things, that the son of the woman, the mistress of the house, fell sick; and his sickness was so sore, that there was no breath left in him. 18And she said unto Elijah, What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? 19And he said unto her, Give me thy son. And he took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into a loft, where he abode, and laid him upon his own bed. 20And he cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, hast thou also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? 21And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again. 22And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. 23And Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the chamber into the house, and delivered him unto his mother: and Elijah said, See, thy son liveth. 24And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.

1 Kings 17:17-24

You may notice that the passage describing the death of the widows son and then his resurrection is eight verses long. Also, coincidentally the number of simple words in these eight verses is 128 = 2 x 8 x 8.

(2) The second (2)

31And Gehazi passed on before them, and laid the staff upon the face of the child; but there was neither voice, nor hearing. Wherefore he went again to meet him, and told him, saying, The child is not awaked. 32And when Elisha was come into the house, behold, the child was dead, and laid upon his bed. 33He went in therefore, and shut the door upon them twain, and prayed unto the LORD. 34And he went up, and lay upon the child, and put his mouth upon his mouth, and his eyes upon his eyes, and his hands upon his hands: and he stretched himself upon the child; and the flesh of the child waxed warm. 35Then he returned, and walked in the house to and fro; and went up, and stretched himself upon him: and the child sneezed seven times, and the child opened his eyes. 36And he called Gehazi, and said, Call this Shunammite. So he called her. And when she was come in unto him, he said, Take up thy son. 37Then she went in, and fell at his feet, and bowed herself to the ground, and took up her son, and went out.

2 Kings 4:31-37

The entire story of the childs death and then resurrection starts in verse 18 and thus takes 20 verses to tell. However it is in verse 20 that we are told of the childs death and in verse 35 we are told of his resurrection. The number of verses from the death to the resurrection, inclusive, is thus 16 = 2 x 8. This is also of interest because Elisha asked for a double portion of the spirit of Elijah whan he succedded Elijah as prophet of the Lord in the land. Here in the stories of these two resurrections, the first by Elijah and the second by Elisha we have eight verses for Elijah and 16 for Elisha. These numbers were also the number of miracles recorded to have been done by each of these two prophets respectively

(3) The third (3)

20And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. 21And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.

2 Kings 13:20-21

While it is two verses that tell of this event, the resurrection itself is fully contained in verse 21. Verse 21 contains 104 letters, 104 = 8 x 13.

(4) The fourth (4)

11And it came to pass the day after, that he went into a city called Nain; and many of his disciples went with him, and much people. 12Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much people of the city was with her. 13And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. 14And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. 15And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother. 16And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people. 17And this rumour of him went forth throughout all Judaea, and throughout all the region round about. 18And the disciples of John shewed him of all these things.

Luke 7:11-18

Coincidentally this passage contains just eight verses. This instance of resurrection, has some similarities to the first ressurection that we mentioned above. In both cases the raised was the son of a widow. This is the first resurrection (of three) performed by Jesus, compared with the first resurrection (of three) in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, after seeing this miricle, the widow believed that Elijah was a prophet of God. In the New Testament, after seeing this, the people believed Jesus was a Prophet. Also there is the coincidence that both events are toldt to us in a passage of eight verses.

(5) The fifth (5)

41And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus’ feet, and besought him that he would come into his house: 42For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him. ...49While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master. 50But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole. 51And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden. 52And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth. 53And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead. 54And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise. 55And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat. 56And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.

Luke 8:40-42, 49-56

This event is told to us in ten verses, however it is broken by an interlude about the woman who touched the hem of Jesus garment. This interlude takes six verses and thus if it is included in the verse count then we have 16 = 2 x 8 verses from the beginning of the story to its conclusion. This is similar to the second resurrection in the Old Testament which is also related in 16 verses. Further, in both cases the person raised was the child of wealthy parents.

(6) The sixth (6)

...39Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days. 40Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God? 41Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. 42And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me. 43And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

John 11:39-44

The entire story of the resurrection of Lazarus starts from verse one and thus takes 44 verses. In the same way that the previous two resurrections have their parallel in the Old Testament so does this one. The third Old Testament resurrection, is the case of a full grown man being resurrected, as was Lazarus. However in the Old Testament the event is essentially told in one verse, while in the New Testament this telling takes most of a chapter and goes into quite some detail about the events surrounding it and so on. In this aspect the two are related by contrast - one brief verse compared with a whole chapter.

(7) The seventh (7)

36Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. 37And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. 38And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. 39Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. 40But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive. 42And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord. 43And it came to pass, that he tarried many days in Joppa with one Simon a tanner.

Acts 9:36-43

This event is told in a passage of eight verses. It is the first resurrection performed after Jesus has departed and serves to remind us, as it probably did them as well, of something that Jesus said.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

John 14:12

Thus in this even we have confirmation that the saints and apostles had truly received power from on high just as Jesus promised they would, but also that it was every bit as powerful as that which Jesus himself had access to. Further it is in the very next chapter that Peter is to go to the household of a Roman centurion and preach the gospel, and they would all receive the Holy Spirit just as the apostles did on the day of Pentecost. It may be that having this great miracle happen at the hands of Peter established his credentials beyond reproach so that the Jewish Christians would find it easier to accept the pouring out of the Holy Spirit on the gentiles. While God was going to do so regardless of whether the Jewish believers accepted it or not, so great is His mercy and understanding of our petty human frame that He often prepares us for what He is about to do.

(8) The eighth (8)

7And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. 8And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. 9And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. 10And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. 11When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. 12And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.

Acts 20:7-12

This is the final individual resurrection mentioned in the Bible and it is worth noting that it was at the hands of Paul that God raised on this occasion. Paul was an apostle only by adoption, as it were, since he was a persecutor of the church until Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus. So this event helps to establish him as of equal status with the other apostles. However there is more to it than that. Paul was the one who had a ministry to the gentiles more than any other. In fact this notable miracle occurred in a gentile city amongst what was probably a predominately gentile congregation. Thus his ministry to the gentiles is re-affimed as being of equal priority to the other apostles who mainly preached to the Jews. Finally the two resurrections mentioned in the book of Acts create an interesting pattern. The seventh resurrection was in answer to the prayer of Peter who shortly afterwards was the first to preach to the gentiles, the gospel of Jesus Christ and His resurrection. The eighth resurrection was in answer to the prayer of Paul who spent most of his Christian life preaching to the gentiles.

Words that are used eight times.

When a word is used only eight times in the entire text of the Bible we might expect it to be marked with the symbolic meaning of the number eight. Let us consider some words that are used exactly eight times:

For sake of

rWb[ `abuwr {aw-boor’} or `abur {aw-boor’} (Hebrew Strongs 5668), for the sake of, on account of, because of, in order to, in order that.

And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

Genesis 8:21

And he said, For these seven ewe lambs shalt thou take of my hand, that they may be a witness unto me, that I have digged this well.

Genesis 21:30

And in very deed for this cause have I raised thee up, for to shew in thee my power; and that my name may be declared throughout all the earth.

Exodus 9:16

And thou shalt shew thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the LORD did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt.

Exodus 13:8

And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.

Exodus 20:20

And the princes of the children of Ammon said unto Hanun their lord, Thinkest thou that David doth honour thy father, that he hath sent comforters unto thee? hath not David rather sent his servants unto thee, to search the city, and to spy it out, and to overthrow it?

2 Samuel 10:3

To fetch about this form of speech hath thy servant Joab done this thing: and my lord is wise, according to the wisdom of an angel of God, to know all things that are in the earth.

2 Samuel 14:20

And Absalom and all the men of Israel said, The counsel of Hushai the Archite is better than the counsel of Ahithophel. For the LORD had appointed to defeat the good counsel of Ahithophel, to the intent that the LORD might bring evil upon Absalom.

2 Samuel 17:14

Dinah

The daughter of Jacob and Leah was Dinah. Her name occurs in the Bible exactly eight times.

And afterwards she [Leah] bare a daughter, and called her name Dinah.

Genesis 30:21

And Dinah the daughter of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob, went out to see the daughters of the land.

Genesis 34:1

And his soul clave unto Dinah the daughter of Jacob, and he loved the damsel, and spake kindly unto the damsel.

Genesis 34:3

And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter: now his sons were with his cattle in the field: and Jacob held his peace until they were come.

Genesis 34:5

And the sons of Jacob answered Shechem and Hamor his father deceitfully, and said, because he had defiled Dinah their sister:

Genesis 34:13

And it came to pass on the third day, when they were sore, that two of the sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, Dinah’s brethren, took each man his sword, and came upon the city boldly, and slew all the males.

Genesis 34:25

And they slew Hamor and Shechem his son with the edge of the sword, and took Dinah out of Shechem’s house, and went out.

Genesis 34:26

These be the sons of Leah, which she bare unto Jacob in Padanaram, with his daughter Dinah: all the souls of his sons and his daughters were thirty and three.

Genesis 46:15

It may be worth noting that the sum of the chapter numbers in which her name occurs is 280 = 5 x 7 x 8.

Where to go from here

The symbolism of the number nine.

Symbolic meanings of the numbers.

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