The number 8 holds special meaning in the Bible. It signifies new beginnings, resurrection, and eternal life.
This article will explore the biblical significance of the number 8 through a deep look at key Scripture passages and theology. We’ll uncover why 8 is the biblical number of completeness, fulfillment, and spiritual rebirth.
In the Bible, certain numbers hold symbolic meaning. The number 7 signifies spiritual perfection and completion. The number 40 points to a time of testing and trial. When we come to the number 8, we find that it signals new starts, renewal, and everlasting life.
The spiritual significance of 8 derives from the number 7, which embodies God’s perfect work in creation and redemption. After the completion and perfection of 7, the next step is 8 – a new beginning that flows out of what God has already done. Eight follows after seven, but rises above it into something greater.
Here are the key symbolic meanings behind the number 8 in Scripture:
- New beginnings
- Eternal life
Let’s dive into the biblical theology behind the number 8, uncovering its significance verse by verse.
The Number 8 Signals New Beginnings
The number 8 is connected to new beginnings throughout Scripture. After the first 7 days of creation, God inaugurated a new beginning on the 8th day. Jewish boys were circumcised and formally named on the 8th day. Key biblical figures experienced new starts marked by 8.
Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of a new week, bringing the new beginning of resurrected life. The 8th day points forward to the new creation that is coming when Jesus returns.
Here are key verses that reveal how 8 signifies a new beginning:
Genesis 17:12 – Circumcision on the 8th Day
He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring (Genesis 17:12, ESV)
God commanded Abraham and his descendants to circumcise every male on the 8th day. This act signified entrance into God’s covenant with Abraham. The 8th day marked the beginning of a formal relationship with God.
Luke 2:21 – Jesus Circumcised on the 8th Day
And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb. (Luke 2:21, ESV)
As an Israelite male, Jesus was circumcised and named on the 8th day of his life on earth. This event heralded the new beginning of his earthly ministry as the Messiah.
2 Peter 3:8 – A Day is Like 1000 Years to the Lord
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. (2 Peter 3:8, ESV)
Here Peter explains that God’s perspective on time is vastly different than man’s viewpoint. Applying the psalmist’s teaching that a day is like 1000 years, the 8th day can represent the beginning of a new era of 1000 years.
This relates to the coming millennial reign of Christ that will commence at his second coming, marking a monumental new start on the cosmic timeline.
Leviticus 9:1 – Offerings Beginning the Levitical Priesthood
On the eighth day Moses called Aaron and his sons and the elders of Israel… (Leviticus 9:1, ESV)
Leviticus 9 records the start of Aaron and his sons functioning as priests before God on behalf of Israel. This happened on the 8th day, initiating the Levitical priestly order as God commanded.
1 Chronicles 29:27 – Israel’s New Beginnings Under Solomon
The time that he reigned over Israel was forty years. He reigned seven years in Hebron and thirty-three years in Jerusalem. (1 Chronicles 29:27, ESV)
Here the chronicler notes that King Solomon reigned over Israel for 40 years. But his reign began anew when he initiated the construction of the temple after 7 years ruling from Hebron.
The next chapter of Solomon’s kingdom commenced on the 8th year when he established his throne in Jerusalem. This marked a new beginning for Israel’s united monarchy.
The Number 8 Points to Resurrection and New Creation
In Scripture, the number 8 is strongly linked with resurrection and regeneration. Jesus rose from the dead on the 8th day, and this event is tied to the new creation he will bring at his Second Coming.
The 8th day represents the start of an entirely new week following the completion of 7 days. In the same way, Christ’s resurrection inaugurated a new week in cosmic history. The old has passed away, and the new has come in Jesus.
Here are key passages where 8 is connected to resurrection and new creation:
Luke 24:1 – Jesus Rose on the 8th Day
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb… (Luke 24:1, ESV)
All four gospels report that Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week. Using the Jewish week, this was the 8th day following the Sabbath after Jesus’ crucifixion.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – New Creation in Christ
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
At salvation, every Christian becomes a new creation in Jesus. Our old self of sin dies, and we are reborn into a new life with Christ by the Spirit.
Revelation 21:1 – New Heaven and New Earth
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away… (Revelation 21:1a, ESV)
The book of Revelation promises that Jesus will return to renew all of creation. The curse of sin will be reversed, and the Lord will establish a new heaven and earth.
The 8th day points ahead to this future reality when all things are made new. The new creation commences after the completion of human history as we know it.
Eight Signifies Eternal Life in Christ
One of the key symbolic meanings of the number 8 is eternal life. The 8th day anticipates the new creation when death will be no more. In Jesus, believers have passed from death into endless life.
Several key verses connect the number 8 with the theme of living forever in Christ by faith:
Romans 6:4 – Walk in New Life
When we are baptized into Jesus, we spiritually participate in his death and resurrection. This means we are raised with Christ into a new kind of life that is eternal.
The 8th day of resurrection initiates believers into the eternal life we now experience in Christ.
Revelation 7:17 – Living Water of Life
For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” (Revelation 7:17, ESV)
In his eternal kingdom, Christ will lead his people to fountains of living water. This points to the gift of eternal life that Jesus purchased through his redemptive work.
The 8th day represents the fullness of this eternal life believers will experience when we are resurrected.
1 John 5:11-13 – We Have Eternal Life in Christ
And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:11-13, ESV)
John assures believers that in Christ we already possess eternal life. All who trust in Jesus have passed from death into endless life.
This eternal life begins spiritually now, and will be experienced physically on the 8th day when we are resurrected.
The Number 8 Points to New Birth and Baptism
Spiritual rebirth and baptism are also symbolized by the number 8. Passages mentioning baptism and being born again are theologically linked to resurrection – passing from death to new life in Christ.
Let’s explore key Scriptures where the 8th day points ahead to regeneration through faith in Jesus:
John 3:3-8 – Born Again by the Spirit
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:3-8, ESV)
Jesus taught Nicodemus that in order to enter God’s kingdom, he must be reborn spiritually. This happens when the Holy Spirit regenerates someone who repents and believes.
All Christians are born again of water and the Spirit, signifying the washing of regeneration. This happens on the 8th day of our conversion.
Titus 3:4-7 – Rebirth and Renewal
But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7, ESV)
The apostle Paul summarizes the gospel as God saving us according to his mercy. This happens by the washing of regeneration and renewal that comes through faith in Christ.
When someone is born again, it is a spiritual 8th day – the beginning of a new life in Jesus by the Spirit.
Romans 6:3-4 – Baptized into Christ’s Death and Resurrection
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:3-4, ESV)
Paul explains that in baptism we are united to both Jesus’ death and resurrection. We die to sin and self, being buried with Christ. But we are also raised to new life through his resurrection on the 8th day.
Baptism represents our spiritual rebirth and the gift of eternal life. The 8th day points ahead to this regeneration.
Digging Deeper: The Number 8 in Covenantal Context
Beyond the symbolic meanings above, the number 8 connects to God’s covenant promises in Christ. The key covenants in Scripture utilize the timeline of 7 days followed by the 8th day.
Let’s do a quick survey tracing how biblical covenants point to the fulfillment and renewal embodied in the number 8:
This covenant was inaugurated after the 7 days Noah waited for the flood waters to recede (Gen. 8:6-12). The number 8 signals a new covenant beginning.
Yahweh commanded circumcision as the sign of his covenant with Abraham (Gen. 17:10-14).
As we saw earlier, this act was to be done on the 8th day. God’s covenant with Abraham commenced on the day of new starts.
When God established his law covenant with Israel through Moses, the 10 commandments were written on two stone tablets (Ex. 34:1).
Rabbinic tradition holds that there were 8 commandments on the first tablet, and 2 on the second. Again, 8 marks a biblical covenant’s inauguration.
New Covenant in Jesus
Jesus proclaimed the new covenant at the Last Supper (Luke 22:20), and inaugurated it through his death and resurrection.
Jesus rose on the 8th day, launching the new covenant in his blood. The apostles call this the covenant of regeneration and renewal (1 Peter 1:3, Heb. 9:15).
As this survey demonstrates, God consistently uses the number 8 in Scripture to signal fresh starts and regeneration. The symbolic meanings of 8 come into focus best when we view them through the lens of God’s covenantal dealings with his people across biblical history.
The 8th day represents the fulfillment of former covenants in the new covenant Christ mediates. It points to the eternal life believers enjoy in Jesus. He has washed and renewed us that we might walk in resurrection life.
The number 8 integrates seamlessly into the biblical meta-narrative when understood in covenantal context. It encapsulates New Testament theology focused on regeneration, renewal, and eternal life in Christ.
The Significance of 8 for Christians Today
For modern Christians, the biblical symbolism of the number 8 carries profound significance:
- New life in Christ – All believers have been born again by the Spirit into new life with Jesus. Just as we are raised with him, we walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4). The 8th day of resurrection marks the beginning of this regenerate life.
- Future hope – The 8th day points ahead to the resurrection and new creation Christ will bring at his Second Coming. This gives Christians an eternal hope as we look forward to the renewal of all things.
- Covenant identity – Number 8 signifies that Christians have entered God’s new covenant in Christ’s blood. We identify as new covenant believers, regenerated by the Spirit through faith.
- Gospel witness – The biblical meanings associated with 8 center on the gospel – new life, new birth, eternal life. When we understand the symbolism of 8, it helps us articulate and share the gospel message.
As modern readers, we can gain much by understanding what the number 8 represented to the biblical writers under divine inspiration. It fills out our comprehension of the meta-narrative of Scripture.
The Spirit uses symbolic numbers like 8 to point to deeper spiritual realities that resonate across all times and cultures. Grasping the significance of 8 equips us to better grasp the breadth of the gospel and its far-reaching implications.
This deep exploration of the number 8 in the Bible has unearthed its core symbolic meanings. While on one level it simply marks new beginnings, the 8th day spiritually embodies far more.
We’ve seen how the theology of resurrection, eternal life, and regeneration all center on the number 8. It epitomizes the new covenant realities accomplished by Jesus in his death and resurrection on the 8th day.
By viewing 8 in covenantal context, we better understand the contours of God’s story of redemption across Scripture. The 8th day ultimately anticipates the coming eternal kingdom marked by endless life, renewal, and perfect fellowship with Christ.
The number 8 integrates seamlessly with major biblical themes focused on the gospel of regeneration and resurrection life in Jesus by the Spirit. As Christians, grasping its significance allows us to more fully comprehend and share the good news.
May this exploration of the biblical theology of 8 equip you to better understand Scripture’s sweeping message of redemption. May it also deepen your faith in Jesus, the resurrected Lord whose 8th day triumph gives all who believe eternal life and hope.