The Design of Scripture
The Number Eight
The Number Nine
The Number Nine
The Number Eight - Newness and Cycles
The number eight presents a picture of newness and a fresh beginning. Some have concluded that this number represents the start of that which has not previously existed, or a celebration of that which is obsolete and dissolved, but this is not the case at all. That position fits very well into Hellenistic, western thinking, but is antithetical to Hebrew thinking or biblical thought patterns.
The number '8' speaks clearly of the beginning of another cycle, which is the pattern of scripture. Western thinking is linear, while Eastern thinking is cyclical. Our western culture is steeped in this kind of thinking. History and the advancement of mankind is seen as a line coming from the left, representing the dark, fuzzy, foggy past, extending to the right, representing the dark, fuzzy, foggy future. Standing in the middle is a cross. Therefore, the march of mankind is seen as a series of events coming and going, culminating with qazillions of people going to heaven or going to hell. This perception begins with the children of God seen as primitive 'Jewish' wanderers, stumbling through the graceless age of the patriarchs. These Hebrew neanderthals required rules and regulations because of their stubborn, godless nature. Sporting a sensitive digestive system and having a propensity to 'labor' their way into heaven, they gladly received the good news of one day off to rest from their constant struggle to please God with their tireless works. But as time marched on God knew that one day the age of grace would come, when His 'new' people, the church, like a phoenix, would rise up from the ashes of legalism and no longer require the harsh taskmaster, Torah. This people would be the ultimate expression of a brand new start, a spotless bride that would overshadow the dark, murky past with all of it's faithless feasts, sabbaths, and ordinances. On the eighth day a new sun, I mean son, would leap from the horizon, wiping the slate clean, dissolving the past, and creating a whole new generation of faithful servants, subject only to their own confessions and creating a whole new mantra: "Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"
All right, I guess I am 'ranting' a bit like Dennis Miller. Our Creator, contrary to Greek thinking, thinks and reveals in cycles and not in dispensational leaps. One such example is our week. Scripturally, the week goes from Shabbat to Shabbat. Each week begins on the eve of Shabbat and ends on the eve of Shabbat. The beginning of the first day is also the beginning of the 8th day, but is kept in context with the Shabbat cycle. When the Pharisee in Luke 18:12, said that he fasted twice in the week, the word used is 'sabbatou'. In the culture of scripture, he said that he fasted two times in the Sabbath, or between the Sabbaths. This would have been a familiar phrase to those standing around him, not to mention Yahshua. When Shabbat was over and the 1st or 8th day began, this would start the Shabbat cycle again, and once again the Pharisee would fast two times in the Sabbath. The 8th day signified a 'renewed' beginning. This can also be seen in the musical scale. There are 7 whole notes in music. The 8th note begins a higher octave of the same 7 notes. YHVH has placed this same truth in His feasts. The year of His people begins at the new moon on the first of Aviv (i.e., Nisan, we will leave the barley harvest discussion for another time). Fourteen days later we have the first feast of seven. Sukkot, the seventh feast, ends the yearly cycle. The first, or eighth feast, begins a new cycle. These cycles are referred to in Mizmor 23:3:
"He RESTORES my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake."
The phrase 'paths of righteousness' is in the Hebrew bema'egeley-tzedek. The word translated as 'paths' is the Hebrew word for, you guessed it, CYCLES. David is praising YHVH for leading him in the cycles of righteousness, which, in the Hebrew culture, is referring to the yearly feast and Sabbath cycles. Each cycle being a beginning filled with the newness of God's prophetic pictures so that in the end, the people of the book would be without excuse. The pattern of seven is replete in scripture, with the number eight renewing another shadow of what is to come. It is my opinion that Yahshua rose precisely at the end of the 7th day and at the beginning of the 8th day, fulfilling a repetive prophetic picture. Messiah's resurrection at this time was indeed a new beginning and the ultimate goal of all the 'new' beginnings portrayed in the feasts of YHVH. Messiah established the cycle of the feasts from the Passover and will complete the cycle in the end when we dwell with Him in the kingdom. This 7th day is recorded in scripture. The 8th millenium is not revealed. At the end of the 7th day, hasatan will be loosed for a season only to be ultimately cast out forever, and the cycle of man's time on earth will be complete. It is at the meeting of the 7th and 8th day that we will understand what Sha’ul was speaking of in 1 Corinthians 15:26-28:
"The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. For He hath put all things under his feet. But when He saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that He is excepted who did put all things under Him. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all."
Exactly what this means is unclear, but the 8000th year seems to be the beginning of something uniquely different. The Hebrew word for eight is shemoneh. This word taken from the root shaman, means to nourish to fullness and is dominantly translated as oil, particularly the anointing oil. It may be a coincidence that the 8 days of Chanukah are directly connected with the miracle of the oil. The 8th letter of the Aleph-bet is the letter chet. This letter is the base consonant for chay (life) and chen (grace), the foundations for a new beginning. The great Jewish physician and sage, Maimonides, wrote that there were 8 degrees of righteousness. (1) The person who gives reluctantly and with regret.
(2) The person who gives graciously but less than he should. (3) The person who gives what he should, but only after being asked. (4) The person who gives before being asked. (5) The person who gives without knowledge to whom he gives, although the recipient knows the identity of the donor. (6) The person who gives without making his identity known. (7) The person who gives without knowledge to whom he gives. The recipient does not know from whom he receives. (8) The person who helps another to support himself by a gift or a loan or by finding employment for that person, thus helping him to become self-supporting. And finally, Talmud (Arachin 13b) states that the earthly harp has 7 strings, but when the Messiah comes it will have 8. Below are a few examples of the number 8 in scripture.
- 8 persons in the ark when it rested on Ararat.
- Circumcision to be performed on the 8th day: B'reshith 17:12; Luke 2:21.
- King David was the 8th son of Jesse.
- Aharon and sons to begin ministry on the 8th day: Vayikra 8:31-36.
- Feast of Sukkot - 8th day was holy convocation: Vayikra 23:36.
- In Ya‘aqov's prophecy of his sons, Yahshua (salvation) appears between the 7th and 8th son.
- The word 'born' appears 8 times in Yahshua's conversation with Nicodemus.
- The word 'water' appears 8 times in Yahshua's conversation with the woman at the well.
- The word eight is mentioned 80 times in scriptures.
- Eliyahu performed 8 miracles.
- Elisha performed 16 miracles (2x8).
- There were 7 covenants made with Avraham. The eighth made after Yitz'chak was born.
- The 119th Psalm is divided up into 22 sections of 8 verses each.
The Number Nine - Fruitfulness and Giving
The number nine paints a picture of bearing fruit and giving. Two in your face examples are given in Galatians and Corinthians:
"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and self control; against such there is no law.
1 Corinthians 12:7-10
"But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit. For to one is given, by the Spirit, the word of wisdom; to another, the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another, faith by the same Spirit; to another, the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another, the working of miracles; to another, prophecy; to another, discerning of spirits; to another, various kinds of tongues; to another, the interpretation of tongues."
Many times fruit and gifts appear after baptism. The very first baptism occurs in B'reshith 1:10-11:
"And God called the dry land Earth; and the GATHERING TOGETHER of the waters called he Seas; and God saw that it was good. And God said; Let the earth bring forth vegetation, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after it's kind ..."
The word translated as 'gathering together' is the word mikveh, the Hebrew word for the place of baptism. (by the way, the word mikveh is found 9 times in Tenakh). This is immediately followed by the creation producing fruit. The only way for the children of YHVH to produce fruit is to be willing to lay aside our own lives and ways, and to let the Messiah reign in us. The Hebrew word for 'nine' is tesha' which means to decrease. It is Yochanan the immerser who understood the concept of producing the righteous fruit of God by laying aside his own desires.
"He must increase, but I must decrease."
The children of Israel were commanded not to eat of the fruit of the land until the 9th year according to Vayikra 25:20-22. This is when the crop will produce it's goodness in it's peak. The 9th letter of the Aleph-bet is the letter tet, which means to surround with goodness. And finally, Sarah produced the last fruit of her womb when she bore Yitz'chak at 90 years of age.