Eight: The Kingdom of God, redemption, and newness or renewal
The number eight both in Judaism and Christianity expresses "newness". Many scholars call it the number of redemption or the Kingdom number. A common use for the number eight relates to circumcision, for a male child was circumcised on the eighth day. It was on the eighth day the male child was also given a name. It was through the covenant of circumcision and the giving of a Hebrew name that the child entered into a new relationship as a member of the Children of Israel. Circumcision also relates to the death of the flesh (carnal nature), which is one of the primary outcomes of redemption. Not living according to the flesh expresses a Kingdom lifestyle. Before examining a few examples from the Scripture, let it be stated that early churches were often built with eight walls to convey faith in the resurrection (the Kingdom hope). The Bible states that Yeshua rose from the dead on the first day of the week. However, when also considering the prior week, seven days and adding the first day of the week, the total is eight. Therefore, Christianity has used the number eight to convey the concept of resurrection and not only the resurrection of Yeshua, but all who will enter into the Kingdom. Resurrection and Kingdom are often linked together in both Judaism and Christianity.
In the book of Leviticus, Moses provides a list of God's festival days. The last one is known as the Eighth Day Assembly (see Leviticus 23:36). Although very little is stated in the Scripture concerning this festival, it is treated as a Shabbat and called a holy convocation. Whereas Christianity ignores this day altogether, Judaism places great significance upon it and understands its message as related to the Kingdom.
A classic example of the number eight is found in Acts chapter 9. In this passage, a man who was paralyzed for eight years, was healed by Peter. There is no coincidence that in the next passage the message found is resurrection. In 1 Peter 3:20, eight individuals are mentioned. These are Noah and his wife and their three sons and their wives. It was with these eight people that HaShem began humanity anew. This is one of the places that one can see how the concept of newness is related to the number eight. The vast majority of times the number eight appears in the Scripture it is part of a composite number. For example, in John chapter five a man was paralyzed for 30 and 8 years (38). This occurrence provides a good illustration of how composite numbers should be handled.
Although the number 30 has as a general meaning death, it is possible to understand it as multiplications of five and six, and three and ten. The idea then would be that when incompleteness (5) meets with the grace of God (6), there is a new beginning (8). One could make this interpretation somewhat more spiritual. As sinners we are incomplete (5) for entrance into the Kingdom of God, but when we experience the grace of God (6), we become a new creation (8) and are no longer incomplete for entrance into the Kingdom.
If one uses the other numbers (3 and 10) the following can be derived from the number 38. As we have learned, the number three expresses the concept of testing. Hence, the number thirty can relate to being thoroughly or completely (10) tested (3). Usually when a person finds himself being tested, he immediately prays for the testing to be stopped or to be removed from the trial. What is being expressed in this example is that one is going to be thoroughly or completely (10) tested (3) and when the purpose for this testing or trial is complete, then this person will have a new beginning (8).
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