THE NUMBER 8 AND THE FESTIVAL OF THE EIGHTH DAY
The explanation of the Festival of the Eighth Day requires the use of Bible numerics in order to discover the symbolic and prophetic meanings of many scriptures, which include concepts and relationships between the number 8 and the meaning of the Festival of the Eighth Day.
The Bible was written over many centuries by dozens of men. Most of these men were not scholars, scientists, or mathematicians. However, an intricate mathematical pattern is found to exist from the first verse of scripture to the last. In the original languages in which the Bible was written, every word, sentence, phrase, and concept that pertains to any given subject is linked together with a specific numerical value or mathematical equation, which is unique to itself. See Numbers In Scripture by E.W. Bullinger.
Later in this study, it will become clear that, without the use of Bible numerics, it would be extremely difficult to discover and understand the many meanings of the Festival of the Eighth Day.
Although it is a laborious and time consuming study, the scriptural references and the information that will be cited are necessary in order to bring into focus the awesome meaning of the Festival of the Eighth Day.
The Number 7
The number 7 is a number of termination, which symbolically means 'being complete', 'absolute perfection', 'finality', and 'bringing to an end'. The number 7 is critical to understanding the number 8 in Bible numerics, because it expresses the terminal point and the perfection of certain events and processes after which the prophetic meaning of the Festival of the Eighth Day will be fulfilled.
The weekly Sabbath is the 7th day, which completes the weekly cycle, and the Festival of the Eighth Day is the 7th annual holy convocation and cessation from labor, which completes the annual cycle of festivals for the sacred year. It is more than just a coincidence that the Festival of the Eighth Day is the last of the annual festivals that picture God's plan for the salvation of humanity.
The Festival of the Eighth Day comes after the celebration of the fall harvest, which prophetically celebrates the end of the harvest of humanity into the Family and Kingdom of God. Although the Festival of the Eighth Day is a completely different and separate festival from the festivals that precede it, it does include much of the meaning of the other festivals, because without the fulfillment of the prophetic and symbolic meaning of the other festivals, there would be no reason for the celebration or existence of the Festival of the Eighth Day.
THE NUMBER 8
The basic meaning and concept surrounding the Festival of the Eighth Day can be traced to the Hebrew root word 'shmn' from which the number 8 is derived.
From the root word 'shmn' comes the word 'shamen', that means 'I be(come) fat. It is from 'shamen' that the words which mean 'fat, rich, fatness, oil, and richly prepared food' come. All of these words are used many times throughout the scriptures to convey the idea of God bestowing prosperity and well-being on those who live according to his ways.
It is also from the root 'shmn' that the Hebrew word which signifies the number 8 is taken. This means nothing by itself; however, this study will show that the symbolic and prophetic meaning of the number 8 and the events recorded in the Bible which surround the number 8, are essential to understanding the awesome and magnificent meaning of the Festival of the Eighth Day.
NOAH AND THE EIGHTH DAY
Before the Great Flood, there were only 8 men whom God considered to be preachers of righteousnessthe 8th man on this list is Noah (2.Pet.2:5). Through this 8th preacher of righteousness, God warned humanity that he would destroy them and the earth if they did not repent of their evil ways. Although Noah preached this message for well over one hundred years, only 8 people were found worthy to be saved from this global destruction (1.Pet.3:20).
Noah's name seems to be derived from the root 'nuah', which connotes 'rest' and 'salvation'. This meaning is consistent with the use of Noah's name and the promises God made in Isaiah 54:1-17 and Ezekiel 14:12-23 concerning his protection and salvation of those he considers his people.
The spelling of Noah's name also carries the mark of salvation through God's grace. Noah is spelled using the Hebrew letters nun and heth. Nun has the numerical value of 50 and heth has the value of 8.
The Number 50
The number 50 is the product of 5 x 10: the number 5 signifies the grace of God, and the number 10 signifies the law of God. It is through God's grace and law that humanity will find true freedom and happiness.
The number 50 is also symbolic of being released from bondage and given freedom, which is contained in the symbolism of Feast of Weeks and the 50th year Jubilee. Moreover, the number 50 notes and marks an ending and a beginning of many other events and conditions in the Bible.
The NUMBER 8
The Rains Came
It is recorded in chapter seven of Genesis that the rains came upon the earth on the 8th day, after God gave Noah instructions concerning the loading of the ark with animals and plants that were to be spared from the destruction of the flood:
"And the Lord said to Noah, Come you and all your house into the ark; for you have I seen righteous before me in this generation. . . For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. . . And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood were upon the earth" (Gen.7:1-10, vs.1,4,10 KJV).
Notice that the rains began the 8th day after God told Noah to go into the ark. Both the number 7 (completion/termination) and the number 8 (ending and beginning) appear here. Moreover, the rains were to last forty days and nights (5 x 8). The number 5 is symbolic of God's grace and the number 40 is symbolic of a time of trial and testing. It was through God's grace that 8 people were saved from this time of trial.
After the ark came to rest on Mount Ararat, Noah waited forty days (5 x 8) after which he released a raven and a dove to see if the waters had abated. When the dove returned, he waited seven days before sending it out on the 8th day. The dove returned again, and once again Noah waited seven days and sent the dove out on the 8th day. Again, the events show a termination point associated with the numbers 7 and 8, and a new beginning associated with the number 8 (Gen.chp.8).
Several very important concepts and meanings surrounding the number 8 that apply to the Feast of the Eighth Day, are found in the account of the Great Flood. Listed below are four things that seem to be of primary importance:
1. Righteousness and Salvation.
Noah was the only righteous man just before the Flood, and it was through his righteousness that others were saved. Therefore, Noah, the 8th preacher of righteousness, is symbolic of Christ through whom humanity can obtain salvation. Moreover, this account shows that the number 8 denotes both righteousness and salvation.
2. Death and Destruction
When the rains began on the 8th day, the death of humanity and the destruction of the earth as punishment for the wickedness of humanity also began.
3. Endings and Beginnings.
When the rains began on the 8th day, the world in which the Creator God began his creation of humanity came to an end, and a new world, that was free of the past, began to be formed. See 2.Pet.3:17.
4. Protection Through Righteousness.
Although destruction began on the 8th day, salvation also began through the righteousness of one personthe 8th preacher of righteousness. Just as Noah's righteousness protected others from death, Jesus Christ's righteousness protects others from death through salvation. The number 8 and the Festival of the Eighth Day show that the righteous are spared from eternal death. See Gen.19; 2.Pet.2:5-9; Matt.24:22.
In addition to the root meaning of the Hebrew word for the number 8, the number 8 also has to do with new birth, the divinity of Christ, and the salvation that comes through him.
THE COVENANT, CIRCUMCISION, AND THE EIGHTH DAY
God offered Abram (Abraham) and his descendants an everlasting covenant of blessing (Gen.17:7). As a physical sign and symbol of this covenant between God, Abraham, and Abraham's descendants, God required all males who came under this covenant to be circumcised on the 8th day after birth.
"This is my covenant, that you shall keep, between me and you and your seed after you; Every male child among you shall be circumcised. And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant between me and you. And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every male child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not your seed. He that is born in your house, and he that is bought with money, must be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised male child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant" (Gen.17:10-14 Para.).
These verses show that the 8th day is an integral part of the establishment of a covenant relationship with God. It is evident that the number 8 and the 8th day are directly associated with the sealing of an eternal covenant between God and his children.
Circumcision of the Heart
Physical circumcision prior to and under the Old Covenant was a physical and spiritual matter; however, under the New Covenant there is no need for an outward sign that one has a covenant relationship with God. Circumcision is now a spiritual matter; those under the New Covenant are to be circumcised in the heart. This is why those who come under the blood of Christ are partakers of Abraham's everlasting covenant, even if they are not physically circumcised. See Deut.10:16; 30:1-6; Rom.2:25-29; Gal.3:26-29.
Because the 8th day is very closely tied to this everlasting covenant relationship between God and his people through circumcision of the heart and the sacrifice of Christ, only those who have an eternal covenant with God will receive the promises made to Abraham concerning inheritance and salvation.
"And if you be Christ's, then are you Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Gal.3:29 KJV). See also our study papers concerning the rewards of the saved.
Isaac, one of Abraham's 8 sons, was born because of a promise and a miracle from the Creator God. Although Isaac was not the 8th son in chronological order, he stands apart from the other 7 as the heir to the promises of God. Moreover, he was symbolic of Christ, the heir of all things and the prophetic sacrificial lamb of God. The number 8 has a significance in Isaac's life, because he was the beginning of Abraham's lineage of promise (Gen.22:1-13). See also Gen.21:1-4; Acts 7:8.
"Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen" (Heb.13:20-21 KJV).
God's ownership of the first-born of Israel is also a major part of the meaning of the Festival of the Eighth Day.
"You shall not delay giving your harvest and your vintage. you shall give to me your first-born sons, and the first-born of your oxen and sheep: they shall be 7 days with their mother, and on the
8th day you shall give them to me. And you shall be holy men to me" (Ex.22:29-30 KJV Para.).
It is in the 8th day that first-born sons are to be given to God (the day of circumcision). By extension, the giving of the first-born to God applies to Jesus Christ and the elect of God who are the first-born of the new creationthe spiritual first-born sons of God the Father.
God considered national Israel to be his first-born son (Ex.4:22-23). As sons of God, the Israelites were a part of God's earthly family and were entitled to all the benefits of this relationship. The symbolism of the first-born of Israel and the covenant of the 8th day is carried forward in time, and it is applicable to those under the New Covenant who are also first-born and heirs of God the Father.
"Every one opening the womb is mine; and all your male livestock,. . . and if you do not redeem, [buy back] you shall break its neck. You shall redeem every first-born of your sons" (Ex.34:19-20 Para.).
All first-born sons were to be redeemed. Only through the redemption of the first-born male (symbolic of national Israel) could Israel remain in a covenant relationship with God. This symbolism reaches past the Old Covenant into the future when those who are called to become the Father's first-born of his new creation will be redeemed from sin by the blood of Jesus Christ. See our study paper concerning the New Creation.
THE PRIESTHOOD AND THE TEMPLE
"Do not leave the entrance to the Tent of Meeting for seven days, until the days of your ordination are completed, for your ordination will last 7 days. What has been done today was commanded by the Lord to make atonement for you. You must stay at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting day and night for seven days and do what the Lord requires, so you will not die. . ." (Lev.8:33-35 NIV).
"On the eighth day Moses summoned Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel" (Lev.9:1 NIV).
It is important to note that the final rites of atonement, purification, and ordination for the priesthood and the tabernacle took 7 days (Lev.chp.8;9). It was on the 8th day that the priesthood was accepted by God to officiate in the tabernacle and make offerings in it for the people. See also Ex.29:29-30.
With the completion of these rites, a new worship system was initiated and the next phase of God's plan for the salvation of humanity began.
It took 7 years for Solomon to complete the temple at Jerusalem (1.Kgs.6:38). This temple in which the presence of God would reside was officially completed in the 8th year and dedicated in the 8th month of that year.
After Hezekiah issued his command to repair the temple and again establish the worship of God in Jerusalem, the repairs began on the first day of the first month (2.Chron.29:3, 17). It is interesting that it took 8 days to clean the temple area up to the porch of the temple and another 8 days to complete the repair and cleaning of the temple. Again, we see the number 8, which indicates a new beginning associated with the first day of the sacred month.
The Millennial Temple
"At the end of these days, from the eighth day on, the priests are to present your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings on the altar. Then I will accept you, declares the Sovereign Lord" (Ezk.43:27 NIV).
After the return of Christ and the erection of the new temple, there will be a seven-day period in which sacrifices will be offered for the atonement, purification, and dedication of the altar. Again, it is on the 8th day that the priesthood will be accepted by God to officiate in the tabernacle and make offerings for the people there.
In both the tabernacle and the millennial temple examples, we see that the acts of purification must be completed before the sanctuary, the priesthood, and the people are accepted into the service of and fellowship with God.
The Gates and Steps
There are 3 entrances that lead to each of the outer and inner courts of the new temple, which will be built after Christ's return. The entrances to the outer court have 7 steps each, and the inner court has 8 steps each.
As with prior temples, the people will only have access to the outer court and they can only enter through one of three gates that has 7 steps. Only the priesthood can enter into the inner court through one of the three gates that has 8 steps.
The symbolic meaning revealed through the numeric values contained within the steps and gates confirm the importance of the number 8 as it relates to a close and intimate relationship with God.
Predicated on known meanings of Biblical numbers, the following are a few possible symbolic meanings of the numbers 3,6,7, and 8 within Ezekiel's prophetic temple:
The number 3 is symbolic of divine perfection. There are three gates at each level of access to the temple. These gates seem to represent the perfection of God's way to salvation or the perfection that can be obtained through the worship of God.
The number 6 is symbolic of humanity; therefore, it seems that the 6 gates represent humanity's way to access God.
The number 7 is symbolic of spiritual perfection. The 7 steps of the outer gates might be symbolic of the process of ascending toward God's presence or the process of salvation as pictured in the annual festivals (i.e., the way to complete perfection).
The number 8 is symbolic of the way to salvation and new beginnings. Therefore, the 8 steps might reflect the end result of the process of salvation; as well as being in the presence of God.
THE LAW OF LEPROSY
People who became ill with leprosy had to be removed from the general population of Israel and live in exile until their leprosy was either cured or they died. Because of this physical condition, a person with leprosy could not participate in the formal worship of God at the tabernacle/temple. See Lev.14:1-32.
On the 8th day after being cleansed from leprosy, a person was allowed to become a part of the general population and participate in the formal worship system at the tabernacle/temple.
The 8th day after purification was extremely important to people who were purified, because it was the day they were received back into formal fellowship with God. The 8th day after purification symbolically pictures the establishment of fellowship and communion with God.
Please review the entire chapters of Leviticus 14 and 15 for details of the purification of lepers and other rites of purification that were consummated on the 8th day. This will help show the importance of the 8th day in relationship to new beginnings, salvation, and access to and worship of God. See also Num.6:8-11; 12:1-16; 19:11,14,16.
It was on the 8th day after John the Baptist was born (the day of his circumcision) that his father, Zacharias, was filled with the holy spirit and told that his son would fulfill the office of Elijah (Matt.11:7-14) and announce the coming of the Messiah who would bring salvation to humanity:
"And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Highest: for you shall go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation to his people by the remission of their sins, Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the day-spring from on high will visit us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace" (Lk.1:76-79 KJV para.). Please read the entire first chapter of Luke for an overview of this extraordinary event and prophecy.
The 8th day of John's life not only announced the coming of the Messiah but also pointed to a time when knowledge would be given as a result of the remission of sin. The implication of Zechariah's prophecy of knowledge is very profound, because it foretells access to hidden knowledge after one receives the holy spirit (Jn.16:7-13; 1.Cor.2:9-13).
The phrase "those who are in darkness" not only refers to the specific time in history when people were in spiritual darkness but also to the time of the resurrections of the dead when all those who died never knowing God or his way of life will be given an opportunity to understand God's plan for salvation (1.Cor.15:22-23; Rev.20:11-13). See our study that explains the various resurrections.
In Zechariah's prophecy, the 8th day is symbolic of a beginning and a foreshadowing of an event that would culminate in a new covenant and a new way to obtain salvation (salvation through Christ).
Within the events surrounding John the Baptist's circumcision, we see the following symbolism attached to the 8th day:
Again, a covenant relationship and salvation are inseparable parts of an occurrence on an 8th day.
The Redeemer and the Number 8
Within the writings of The Old Testament, there are many correlations between redemption, the 8th day, and the number 8. There are also a number of scriptures, which are prophetic of Christ as the Redeemer, that have the number 8 associated with the word 'redeemer'. One of these scriptures is found in the prophecy of Isaiah, which pertains to Christ's return at the end of this age:
"And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and to them that turn from transgression in Jacob, says the Lord" (Isa.59:20 KJV).
In this prophecy, the numerical value of the Hebrew letters that make up the phrase "the Redeemer" is 40, which is 5 x 8. Since the context of Isaiah 59:20 is the end of this age, the symbolic meaning of these numbers can easily be understood.
One of the symbolic meanings of the number 'forty' connotes a time of trial or testing. It is a Biblical fact that Christ will return to the earth to establish the Kingdom of God after the great tribulation, which is a time of trial and testing.
The number 5 seems to always symbolize the great grace and mercy of God. We know that it was because of the Father's great grace and mercy that he sent his son to save humanity, and it is because of his grace and mercy that he will spare humanity from complete destruction at the end of this age when he again sends his Son.
Although the number 8 is clearly symbolic of the Redeemer, redemption, and salvation in the Old Testament, it is only through the record of the New Testament that we can establish the fact that the number 8 is symbolic of the redemptive aspect of salvation.
The Name and Number of the Messiah
The numerical values of the various names used for humanity's Redeemer in the New Testament are inseparable from the number 8:
Jesus = 888 (8 x 111)
Christ = 480 (8 x 60)
Lord = 800 (8 x 10)
Our Lord = 1768 (8 x 221)
Savior = 1408 (8 x 8 x 22)
Emmanuel = 25,600 (8 x 8 x 8 x 50)
Messiah = 656 (8 x 82)
Son = 880 (8 x 110)
The writer to the Hebrews sums up the redemption that the elect of God have through Jesus Christ who was the Creator God and the Promised Redeemer of humanity:
"But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption. . .So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin to salvation" (Heb.9:11-12, 28 KJV).
The numerical value of our Redeemer's many names in the Greek language and the use of the number 8 in association with his birth, ministry, death, and resurrection points to the undeniable fact that the number 8 is used to represent our Redeemer, redemption, salvation, the resurrection, and the first-born of the new creation.
Jesus, the Passover, and the 8th Day
Matthew, Mark, and John record that before the Passover, while Jesus was in Bethany having supper, a woman anointed him for his burial. However, only John records that this event took place six days before the Passover. See Matt.26:6-13; Mk.14:3-9; Jn.12:1-7.
It is important to understand that the events recorded in Matthew 26 and Mark 14 are not written in chronological order. The two days before the Passover noted in Matthew 26:1-5 and Mark 14:1-2 concern a separate event from the anointing of Jesus noted in Matthew 26 and Mark 14.
Remember that the Passover lamb was selected on the tenth day of the first sacred month and sacrificed at the end of the 14th day before sunset; then, it was eaten at the beginning of the 15th day after sunset.
When John records that Jesus was anointed for his burial six days before the Passover, he did so with the knowledge that there had been two Passovers that year. Jesus had kept the first one with his disciples, while many of the Jews had kept the second one on which Jesus was crucified (Jn.2:13; 6:4; 11:55).
This anointing of Jesus by Mary six days prior to the Passover was no accident. It was very important to the fulfillment of many prophetic events and it is a part of the symbolism of the Festival of the Eighth day.
Using inclusive counting, the day Jesus was anointed for his burial would have been the 10th day of the first month, which was the same day that the Passover lamb was selected and set apart for its sacrificial death.
The chart on the next page shows inclusive counting of eight days which include the anointing of Jesus for his burial, his observance of the Passover on Thursday evening after sunset, his crucifixion and burial on Friday afternoon during the second sanctioned Passover, the weekly Sabbath which was also the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and the Lift Offering early Sunday morning.
Seven days after being anointed as the Lamb of God, Jesus lay dead in the tomb. Remember the number 7 is symbolic of being complete, absolute perfection, finality, and bringing to an end. Jesus had completed his mission, and a way of total and complete salvation had become available to humanity.
On the day of the Lift Offering (the 8th day from Jesus' anointing as the Lamb of God) God the Father resurrected Jesus from the dead and accepted him as his first-born sonthe first-born of his new creation.
"The Lord said to Moses, When a calf, a lamb, or a goat is born, it is to remain with its mother for seven days. From the eighth day on, it will be acceptable as an offering made to the Lord by fire" (Lev.22:26-27 NIV).
It was also on the 8th day from his anointing that Jesus revealed to many that he had indeed been resurrected from the dead. On this eighth day, he appeared to Mary Magdalene (Mk.16:9), ten of the disciples (Jn.20:18-23), the men on the road to Emmaus (Lk.24:13-46. Then, 8 days after this, he appeared to Thomas (Jn.20:24-28).
The 8th day pictures the resurrection and the acceptance of Jesus Christ as God the Father's first-born son into the Family and Kingdom of God. By extension, the number 8 also pictures the first resurrection at which time all the elect of God (the first-born) will also be transformed into spirit-sons of God.
The number 8 is symbolic of new beginnings and the Day of Pentecost always falls on an 8th day, which is the next day after the last seven-day sabbatical cycle of days in a fifty day count: therefore, it follows that Pentecost is also symbolic of a new beginning; the beginning of the New Covenant, a new age of salvation, and the first resurrection.
Resurrections and the Number 8
It is interesting to note that in addition to Christ's resurrection, there are a total of 8 individual resurrections recorded in the Bible. Three of these resurrections are found in the Old Testament, and five of them are found in the New Testament. All of the individual resurrections were done as acts of mercy or to show the power of God through his people. Moreover, these resurrections were obviously a new beginning for these individuals.
THE EIGHT THOUSAND YEARS
"But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day" (2.Pet.3:8 KJV).
If Peter's statement was intended to have a prophetic or symbolic meaning in relation to God's plan for the salvation of humanity, it fits very well with the Biblical record of past and prophetic blocks of time.
There were approximately 2,000 years between the time of Adam and Eve's creation and the Great Flood. There were approximately 2,000 years from the Great Flood to the advent of Jesus Christ as the Messiah. There will be approximately 2,000 years from the advent of the Jesus Christ as Messiah until his return as King of kings and Lord of lords and 1,000 year reign.
From the creation of Adam and Eve until the end of Christ's 1,000 year reign, approximately 7,000 years will have passed before the resurrection of the rest of the dead.
A Time of Peace
After the first resurrection, Jesus will return to the earth with the elect of all ages who will have been changed to immortal beings (1.Cor.15:51-54). During the first thousand years of Christ's rule, the earth will be at peace and become a paradise, which is free of war, famine, and evil spirits (Rev.20:1-3). It is during this time of peace and prosperity that the earth will be prepared for the billions of humans who will participate in the next phase of God's plan for the salvation of humanity:
"And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them:. . . and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. . ." (Rev.20:4-5 KJV).
Rest of the Dead
The resurrection of the rest of the dead will take place in the 8th millennium after the creation of Adam and Eve. The rest of the dead are the billions who died without ever having an opportunity for salvation. These people will be resurrected to physical life. During their second life, they will be given the knowledge and understanding of God's truth, and those who demonstrate by their attitude, commitment, and performance that they have a sincere desire to love and obey God will qualify for eternal life. See Isa.65:19-25; Rev.20:11-15.
Every human being who has ever lived or will ever live shall have the opportunity to learn the truth of God's great plan (2.Pet.3:9; 1.Tim.2:4). Everyone will be given a chance for salvation by God (Rom.2:11). Everyone will have a full understanding of the right way to live and each will have to decide whether or not they will obey God (Heb.8:11).
YEAR OF RELEASE, LAND REST, AND THE JUBILEE
The Year of Release, the Land Rest, and the Jubilee which were required of Israel under the Old Covenant, are all tied to the number 8 and symbolic of a new beginning with freedom from bondage.
These three periods of time have great physical, spiritual, and prophetic meaning attached to them and are extremely important to the fulfillment of the plan that God has for humanity.
The Year of Release
Every 7th year, debts were commanded to be forgiven and all indentured and purchased servants were to be released. This meant that everyone who was indebted to another person could have a fresh start in the 8th year, which represents a new beginning and freedom. See Deut.15:1-2; 12.
The Land Rest
Every 7th year, the land was to rest from intensive agricultural production. Most organic farmers and gardeners understand the benefits of such a land rest. The land rest was to be a time of renewal for the land as well as a rest for those who farmed the land. On the 8th year, the land would have been renewed with the prospect of a greater harvest. See Lev.25:3-4.
The Year of Jubilee, which was also called the Year of Liberty occurred every fiftieth year. During this year, all debts were to be released, indentured or purchased servants were to be set free from their debt and/or servitude, and all land was to be returned to its rightful owner(s). See Lev.25:8-55.
This great fiftieth year of release and freedom brought with it the ultimate in economic and personal freedom. This fiftieth year was the culmination of seven, seven-year cycles of release, which took place after the seventh yearthe 8th year. These 7 and 8 year cycles clearly show the 8th year and the number 8 to be symbolic of release, freedom, and a new beginning.
Below are a several other references which show that the number 8 deals with the release that comes from being freed from servitude or indebtedness.
Peter heals a man who had been ill for 8 years. See Acts 9:32-35.
The Evil Kings
There were several kings who have the number 8 associated with them:
Jehoram, King of Judah, began his reign at the age of 32 (4 x 8) and reigned for 8 years. See 2.Kgs.8:16-18.
Amon, King of Judah, died when he was 24 (3 x 8). See 2.Chron.33:20-25.
Jehoiachin, King of Judah, began his reign when he was 8 years old, reigned for 3 months and 10 days and was removed from rule by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. See 2.Chron.36:9-10.
After evil Amon died, his son Josiah began his reign at the age of 8, and in the 8th year of his reign, he began to seek after the Lord. The beginning of the reign of this good king is associated with the number 8. See 2.Chron.34:1-3.
These examples show that the number 8 is associated with the reigns of kings. This seems to show that the number 8 is associated with the beginning and ending of governments and the transfer of authority.
There are a number of references that seem to use the number 8 within the context of a call to repent of evil and change to righteousness.
"In the 8th month of the second year of the reign of king Darius, the word of the Lord came to the prophet Zechariah" (Zech.1:1-21).
The message which was given to Zechariah was a call to repentance, which seems to be for those who will live in Judah at the end of the age.
In the 8th day after coming to the river of Chebar, the word of the Lord came to Ezekiel (Ezk.3:16-17). Ezekiel was given the responsibility to warn Israel that, if they did not repent, they would die. Again this seems to be a prophecy for the future, because Israel had gone into captivity about 127 years earlier and Ezekiel was among the captives of Judah in another place.
There are only 8 of king David's 'men of war' who are distinguished as being mighty men. These were the men who fought battles for Israel and protected them from foreign invaders. It is interesting to note that the first of the 8 men mentioned killed 8 hundred men in one battle. See 2.Sam.23:8-39. The number 8 here is associated with strength, deliverance, victory, and protection.
The number 8 is associated with victory over the armies of Gog, and Magog a few years after the establishment of the kingdom of God upon the earth. The destruction of this great army will effectively end all military resistance to the Kingdom of God, which will allow the world's inhabitants to live in peace.
After the destruction of Gog and Magog (Ezk.39:1-6; Rev.20:8), Israel will bury the armies of Gog and Magog for 7 months. And in the 8th month the land will be free from dead bodies (Ezk.39:12-15). It will take 7 years to burn all of the weaponry of Gog and Magog, and in the 8th year, all of their weapons of destruction will have been destroyed (Ezk.39:9-10).
"Therefore the anger of the Lord was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushan-rishathaim 8 years" (Jdg.3:8 Para.).
Because of their worship of Baalim and their idolatry, God placed Israel into captivity for eight years; then he released them.
David Numbers Israel
One of the great mistakes that king David made was to number Israel after God had told him not to. Joab reports the number as being 800,000 valiant men who drew the sword.
Primarily this study has shown that the number 8 and the Festival of the Eighth Day are closely associated with many different concepts, meanings, things, and events in scripture.
There are 7 major categories into which almost all of the scriptural references concerning the number 8 and the 8th day fit:
1. Endings and beginnings
2. Death, destruction, and punishment
3. Repentance and salvation
4. A covenant relationship with God the Father
5. Sonship (first-born status)
6. Victory or successful accomplishment
7. Access to God
There are at least 7 major categories that have common concepts and meanings, therefore; if any of them are associated with the Festival of the Eighth Day, it can be safely assumed that there is more than one meaning to this festival and that the Festival of the Eighth Day has several concepts and meanings that are combined into one great festival.
When reviewing the events that will take place at the end of Christ's reign as the supreme sovereign over the earth, it is important to apply some of the concepts and meanings of the number 8 and the 8th day in order to solve the mystery of the Festival of the Eighth Day.
By B.L. Cocherell, file b5w70