In many instances in the Bible, numbers are not just numbers. They usually carry meaning beyond their numerical value. For example, 7 often represents perfection and completeness.
The study of the meaning of different numbers used in the Bible is called Biblical numerology. One of the most studied numbers under Biblical numerology is 8.
In the Bible, the number eight often represents a new beginning, a new life, or resurrection.
Below, we look at some of the instances in the Bible where 8 represents deeper meaning.
What You'll Learn Today
Do Numbers In The Bible Matter?
When it comes to the lessons and the impact of the Bible in our lives, numbers used in the Bible do not matter. What matters is the word of God and his commands for us.
In fact, it can be a bit dangerous to put too much emphasis on Biblical numerology. If it starts getting into the zone of divination and predictions, that’s a sin. The Bible strongly condemns such practices.
(2 Chronicles 33:6) He sacrificed his children in the fire in the Valley of Ben Hinnom, practiced divination and witchcraft, sought omens, and consulted mediums and spiritists. He did much evil in the eyes of the Lord, arousing his anger.
Numbers, by themselves, do not hold any powers or powerful divine secrets.
That said, knowing the use, context and meaning of numbers in the Bible can help us better understand the word of God. It also leaves you in awe when you realize just how much everything in the Bible, from the Old Testament to the New Testament, is connected.
The Bible uses numbers to emphasize a certain aspect. Take number 7 for example. It represents perfection and completeness. Here are a couple of places it’s used in the Bible.
(Psalm 12:6) And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.
(Genesis 2:2) By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
Let’s dive into number 8 and what it means in the Bible.
God took six days to create everything in the heavens and the earth. But if you read Genesis 1 and carefully count the individual steps in creation, you’ll realize they are 8, starting with the creation of light to the creation of man.
This is in step with the meaning of number 8 as an indication of new creation and beginnings.
In the Old Testament, God commanded the Israelites to circumcise newborn boys on the eighth day. It represented the start of a covenant with God, a covenant that was first sealed by Abraham.
The New Testament talks about spiritual circumcision; cutting away the flesh and letting God’s spirit purify our hearts. In other words, a new beginning.
(Romans 2:29) …and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code.
Old Testament Law
The law handed down to the Israelites contains numerous references to the number eight. We’ve already mentioned one of them – the circumcision of a boy on his eighth day.
It’s also referenced in the commands regarding ceremonial cleansing. Whenever someone was deemed unclean (such as because of a bodily discharge or a skin disease), they had to wait seven days after they were declared healed to present a cleansing sacrifice.
The sacrifice was presented on the eighth day, representing newness.
Also, various ceremonies such as the Feast of Tabernacles were celebrated for 7 days followed by a special assembly or sabbath on the eighth day. In a 7-day cycle (i.e. a week), the eighth day corresponds to the first day of the week, representing a new beginning.
Jesus rose from the dead on Sunday. In the Hebrew calendar, Sunday is the first day of the week, also referred to as the eighth day.
The resurrection of Jesus is one of the most significant markers in the Bible of a new beginning. It marks the breakaway from the old law and the start of a new covenant.
Here’s a paragraph from the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
(CCC 2174) Jesus rose from the dead “on the first day of the week.” Because it is the “first day,” the day of Christ’s Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the “eighth day” following the sabbath, it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ’s Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord’s Day.
The other major occurrence of the number 8 in the Bible is during the great flood. God was angry and he wiped out everything on earth except the animals in the ark and eight members of Noah’s family.
God reset humanity using just eight people.