The number 8 is one of the most complex figures in Biblical numerals. Depending on who you ask, it has a lot of meanings and can be viewed from varying perspectives.
This article is all about the meaning of the number 8 in the bible.
As you are about to discover, figure “8” has one of the most significant meanings in the bible. 8 is not just a number, it is an emblem; a significance from different approaches; a pointer to many facts and ultimately, the number 8 is a symbol of new beginnings, purity, and salvation in the bible.
8 is not the only significant number in the bible, 3, 40, 7, and several others are also recognized.
From a general point of view, the number 8 is just the next number after 7 and the one right before 9 on the numerical table. To numerologists though, 8 is a symbol of material freedom, affluence, and self-confidence.
It is also considered one of the few karmic numbers, and astrologists associate the number 8 with endless financial gains and fluid motion. You and your friends may subjectively ascribe different meanings to it too.
There is no limit to what the number 8 may stand for to different people and societies. So, let’s examine some of them to start with!
What Does The Number 8 Mean In The Bible
The answer is not so straightforward. The common maxim among biblical scholars is that the number 8 is a symbol of new beginnings. As explained by the Bible Study Organization:
“8 represents a new beginning, a new order or creation, and man’s true born again event”.
Right from the onset, there are 7 days in a week. The 8th day is always the start of a new week; a new beginning. We sense this right from where God rested on the 7th day signaling that it would be the end of the week.
If the 7th day completes a week, the next day will naturally open a new one.
The Meaning Of Number 8 According To Noah’s Ark
After the creation story, Noah’s ark is the closest experience that buttresses the essence of figure 8. In Genesis 7:13, it becomes clear that only 8 persons were on board Noah’s ark. Noah was the 8th person.
Several biblical accounts tell us that as the ark shut, the world was filled with flood and nothingness, and this continued for 150 days.
Noah, the 8th person was the first to step out of the ark into the new world where everything of the past has been wiped off by the flood.
The significance may not become immediately apparent. But I want you to remember that only 8 persons entered the ark to journey into the new world, and Noah, the 8th person was the first to welcome the new world.
Similarly, Exodus 22:29-30 teaches about how God explicitly instructs that every Israelite male child be circumcised and christened on the 8th day of their birth.
From the moment the Israelites circumcised each boy so he’d belong to God, they prove that the boy now has a new start with God.
They also christen him on that day implying that he is not just a baby anymore. He is a full human who answers to God and man. A part of him has now been presented to God and he is now purified by the circumcision.
This, is in itself, another indication that 8 is a symbol of purity and a new beginning.
What Does The 8th Day Mean In The Bible?
When you explore Leviticus 23: 15-21, you will find that the Pentecost feast happened a day after seven complete Sabbaths.
In other words, it was a new day in a new week that would lead to the 8th Sabbath, and that Pentecost feast was the spirit-filled occasion where people spoke in tongues and attained a new level of spiritualism; a new beginning.
Already, we know that a new day which would be the 8th of every week signals a new beginning, the fact that this 8th day leads to the 8th week leaves us tingling with a sensational reality about the spiritual importance of figure 8.
Going further, Leviticus 23: 33-44 leads us to the feast of tabernacles which begins on the 15th day of the 7th month. The 15th day comes after 2 complete weeks.
It is the beginning of another week, and the number 8 also appears significant as the 8th day of the festival is considered sacred.
It gets more interesting when you remember that timekeeping was done 8 times a day in the bible. Mathew 14:25 and Mark 6: 48 emphasize that each day is divided into 8 and a guard takes turn after every round.
This means a guard on watch is replaced every 3 hours- from midnight to 3 am, from 3am to sunrise, from sunrise to noon, noon to 3pm, and the cycle continues down to midnight. With every 8 changes affected, a new beginning is welcomed.
This again is another pointer to the fact that figure “8” is associated with a new beginning in the bible.
Meaning Of The Number 8 In The Bible
We still cannot peg it at that. For several biblical experts, 8 is a symbol of revival, sacrifice, purification, and revivification, among other things. But the highest vote remains with a “new beginning.”
It is common knowledge that the biblical scriptures were composed of 40 people. 5 symbolizes grace and you only have to multiply that by “8,” a new beginning and you have the Word of God.
In other words, a new beginning characterized by grace is what the bible promises.
It makes perfect sense that this is the central message passed in John 3:16 and the entirety of the bible. It gets even mindboggling that the New Testament, which is in fact, the new beginning, is actually penned by only 8 men.
These are Mathew, Mark, Luke, John, James, Peter, Jude, and Paul. It should no longer surprise that Abraham, the father of faith has 8 sons.
Of course, he’s the father with whom God made 8 promises and through whom nations emerged.
In a whole different ball game, discussing the New Testament brings to the fore, the significance of the number 8 to Jesus and his mission. The Jews practice something called “Gematria.”
This practice is the art of replacing the Hebrew alphabets with corresponding numbers. If you are going to do that in English, the letter A would be 1, B would be 2, and the list continues. It is that simple.
According to the Jewish Gematria, however, the name Jesus in Greek Gematria translates to 888 which can only suggest a supernatural level of a new beginning that is way beyond the ordinary.
It also signals the possibility of Trinity. Messiah, Savior, and Christ are all terms that have 8 among their numerical values.
Jesus calls himself the Son of Man 88 times in the bible. The Revelations of Jesus is the last book in the bible, and it has exactly 888 words.
On top of that, Jesus rose on the first day of the week that followed his crucifixion. Practically, he rose on the 8th day and that day signals the awakening of a new era in Christianity.
In line with that, we find 3 resurrection stories in the Old Testament, 3 in the Gospel, 1 in Acts 9 and the last in Acts 40. This gives a total of 8 resurrection stories in the bible in addition to the fact that Jesus showed himself 8 times after crucifixion.
This is certainly not all that we can reference about the meaning of the number “8” in the bible. The fact that it was mentioned over 70 times is enough indication that it must be a number with value to God and the bible.
Now might even be a great time to remember that Elijah performed 8 different miracles and the bible basically explored 8 songs.
Number 8: Symbolism & Meaning – Purity Or Sacrifice?
In 1 Peter 23:20, we find the 8 persons were saved from the storm that took over the world when Noah’s people were drowned. A school of thought believes that this is not just about a new beginning. It is basically about purity.
It is about the fact that these people have been cleansed of their sins. They have accepted God and they are relieved of the common sins people commit in their environment.
Along that line, this school of thought believes that “God’s commandment in Exodus 22:29-30 that all male children be circumcised” is basically about purification.
When Jesus rose, he became fully purified as he is no longer among sinners and he has in fact, washed sins off with his blood.
The tongue-speaking miracle at the Pentecost is also considered a sign that these people have attained a level of purity in their souls and they had more access to God than they had in the past.
The Christian author, Richard Amiel McGough frequently links the number 8 to enter the historic Christian Church in his books. In one titled The Symbolic Meaning of the Number Eight, he writes:
“The historic Christian Church has traditionally associated the Number 8 with the entrance into the Covenant of God. This understanding comes from God Himself who commands Circumcision- the sign of the Covenant- to be performed on the 8th day- recognized by both Jews and Christians –ultimately manifests in the everlasting New Beginning found in the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
You might like to know that some people think the number “8” represents sacrifice and not purity or renewal.
Jesus Christ died to wash away the sins of the people on earth. His resurrection on the 8th day hallmarks the credibility and acceptance of the ultimate sacrifice.
Similarly, Abraham got the 8th covenant from God only after he had attempted to sacrifice his son on the altar. The people at Pentecost began to speak in tongues after they have sacrificed days fasting and praying.
Circumcising is also an undeniable act of sacrifice to God. For these reasons, 8 to them is a symbol of sacrifice.
While there is no clear-cut answer to the question, “what does the number 8 mean in the bible,” we came away with some solid facts. Foremost, 8 is a significant number to God, whether or not we figure out exactly what it represents.
We also know that since 8 comes after 7 which signals completeness, 8 must signal over-completion, outright perfection, or a new start in its entirety. This does not rule out the possibility that 8 are indeed representing purity.
It just so happens that from every part of the bible we have reviewed, 8 is recurrently linked to the start of something different, a change bigger than whatever is happening at present.
By the way, it does not hurt to accept that the number “8” may well symbolize purity, salvation, sacrifice, and new beginnings.
Social philosophers, numerologists, and astrologers may not agree with our position. As earlier hinted, they usually have their respective stands on the importance of 8. But if you must know, the coincidences in the biblical use of 8 are far too frequent to be set aside.
They have tilted towards revival, sacrifice, purity, and renewal so often that it is safe to consider these concepts the primary significance of the number “8” in the bible.
What Does Seeing Number 8 Frequently Mean For A Believer?
As a believer who understands that God constantly communicates through things and people, you should come to view the number “8” with optimism. It is not God the Father, Son, or Holy Spirit. As such, it should not be worshipped or regarded with some undue cognizance.
However, you should take it as a positive sign from God whenever you see it. If you have been living a life where you are not sure if you are in line with the biblical teachings, consider how often you stumble upon the number “8” around you or in your mind.
If it is admittedly frequent, the Holy Spirit may be directing you to take a U-turn.
Similarly, dreaming about 8 may imply that you need to purify your soul. It should be a number that welcomes change, progress, and ascension to a greater level.
Seeing it often when you are unsure what to do or treading an unfamiliar path is another sign from God that you need a U-turn.
Thank you so much for taking the time to go through this post!