When Bob Costas asked eight-time medal winner Apolo Ohno if he’d be back for the 2014 Winter Olympics, the skater responded by saying eight is his lucky number and “a great number for me.” He said he’d had the number imprinted on his skates and that his new nutritional supplements company was called “8 Zone.”
It was at the last Olympics the world learned how lucky the number is considered in China after all the stories about the Beijing Games formally opening at 8:08 p.m. on 8-8-08. The Chinese state media reported that 16,400 couples registered for marriage certificates in Beijing on that particular Friday.
“The date full of eights is moving several thousand couples in Beijing to get married today — and elsewhere around the world,” read an article from that day’s Seattle Times. “Eight is pronounced ‘ba’ in Mandarin, which is close to ‘fa,’ the word for prosperity, money and status. Turn the number eight on its side, and it's the symbol for infinity. Sichuan Airlines paid $280,000 for the rights to the telephone number 8888-8888. A man in Hangzhou has been widely reported for his offer to sell his car's license plate A88888 for $160,000. Staying on the eighth floor of a hotel in China? Might cost you extra for the good fortune.”
Consistently throughout the Bible, eight is the number of a new beginning.
“You’ve gone seven days and the eighth day you begin again,” says Jordan. “It’s No. 1 again. Go to a piano and start with middle C and you count up seven notes and the eighth note is another C.”
We know that with the Flood “eight souls were saved by water.” Noah’s family debarked from the Ark onto a new earth and were God’s chosen ones to begin again the creation and the earth’s population.
When God later decided to separate out a new nation for Himself using Abraham’s seed, the corresponding Covenant of Circumcision was an eighth-day covenant. Genesis 17:12 says, “And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.”
“Circumcision is the sign and the seal of the righteousness Abraham had by faith,” explains Jordan. “That covenant has a memorial to it; a token to it. In Luke 2:21 you see that ‘when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS.’ It’s an eight-day ritual for the new nation and when God wants to start a new nation in the earth, it’s the eighth day that that nation is set apart and identified that way. By the way, the ordinance that Christ is working under there in Luke 2 is in Leviticus 12.”
After Israel found out the hard way what it was like to have a king of their own choosing, King Saul, God said, ‘I’m going to pick me a king but it’s going to be my king,’ and He installed David, the eighth son of Jesse.
“God’s saying, ‘Israel, we’re going to start over with this king thing and I’m gonna have my guy and he’s going to be the eighth,’ ”says Jordan. “By the way, the Feast of Tabernacles is the only one of the feasts that really goes eight days. Leviticus 23 demonstrates that’s that new experience when Israel has God dwelling with them.”
Elijah, the prophet of the Second Course of Judgment, performs eight miracles in Israel. Elisha, who has a double portion of his spirit, does 16 miracles. Both men were designed to demonstrate, “Here’s a NEW course of judgment. Here’s the next course.”
A truly fascinating thing is there are eight people resurrected in the Bible. Three come from the Old Testament, another three from the Gospel accounts and two are in the Book of Acts.
“Two of them are sons of widows,” says Jordan. “You remember in I Kings 17 Elisha goes in and raises him? And then Jesus raises the widow of Naaman’s son? Two of them are the children of rich people.
“You remember II Kings 4 when Elisha goes in and raises the little boy of the woman there, the rich lady? And Jesus raises Jairus’ daughter. Two of them were raised after they had been buried. You remember when Elisha is buried and later on a guy gets killed and they throw him into Elisha’s grave? (II Kings 13) And when he hits Elisha’s bones—BOING!—he comes up.
“You remember Lazarus? He’d already been buried. There are eight of these people resurrected. Eight is a number of resurrection and regeneration.”
The eighth book in the Bible is the Book of Ruth, in which there is a new beginning with the arrival of the Kinsman Redeemer. The love story of Ruth and Boaz represents a great picture of the restoration of Israel and her inheritance in the land.
For scriptural significance, eight often is the sum of seven plus one and a great example of this is in Colossians 3:12. Paul lists seven virtues a Believer is to “put on,” but then advises in verse 14, “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness,” making that the eighth thing.
“Often times in the Bible, seven will stand and then eight will come along and be added to it,” explains Jordan. “These kind of things work themselves out even in the listing of things. When Aaron’s sons, for example, are going to be consecrated for the priesthood, they have to kind of sit there for seven days in Leviticus 8 and then, in chapter 9, on the eighth day, they’re consecrated. Eight is that new beginning that seven has set up and a new series starts.”
In James 3 is a list of seven appeals to wisdom, but in verse 17 (“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy”), the 5th appeal is really two in one: “Full of mercy and good fruits.”
Jordan says, “You have seven listed but one of them has two parts to it, so it’s really eight even though there’s seven. I just make the point that eight is that number of new beginnings; you’re going to begin again the series.”
(Editor’s note: Tomorrow I will examine the numbers 9, 10, 11 and 12)