The Dimensions Of Eight

by Ray Hawkins

There is a fascination in the Tenach, and especially the Torah, when it comes to numbers. There is a consistency inherent in their use and application from which we can gain much valuable spiritual insight.

In the book that deals with the holiness of the Eternal God, that is Leviticus, there is a special number; both the book and the special number speak of the impossible, (unless God Himself provides a way through sacrifice), and the power by which to live in the realm implied by that number. That special number is EIGHT.

Let us walk through this beautiful book Leviticus to learn what the Lord has to say about our relationship with God in the dimension of EIGHT.

EIGHT and the Priesthood

Its significance becomes apparent in the first eight chapters in which the sacrificial system is explained. The crescendo is seen in the ordination of Aaron and his sons to the priesthood. This required strict adherence to seven days of sacrifice and devotion, and failure to comply placed their lives in peril, for to approach God in an unfit manner or sacrificial 'shortfall' was a death warrant. "And you shall not go outside the door of the tabernacle of meeting for seven days, until the days of your consecration are ended. For seven days he shall consecrate you. As he has done this day, so the LORD has commanded to do, to make atonement for you . . . keep the charge of the LORD, so that you may not die . . . " (Leviticus 8:33-35).

The seven days needed for their atonement was expressive of the fact that the old week had been completed, the 'old standing' had finished and a new thing was about to begin. That is why we read: " . . . on the eighth day Moses called Aaron and his sons . . . " (9:1). They were about to take up their new position, their new responsibility, and express their new relationship with God and the people. It was the EIGHTH day. It spoke of newness after the sacrificial death that made atonement possible. It is therefore a symbol of resurrection relationship and service.

EIGHT and Childbirth

The next reference to this number EIGHT is in chapter 12:3 which deals with purification after childbirth and the circumcision of the male baby on the EIGHTH day. Why the eighth day? A number of valid reasons exist, not least being the medical clotting of blood on the eighth day, but circumcision in itself is expressive of an inner circumcision as recorded for us in Jeremiah 4:4. "Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your hearts . . . "

Circumcision denotes a new standing. The association of the babe with the mother's womb is symbolically removed and its covenant standing with the God of Israel is declared. It is the resurrection principle applied to the covenant promises. No circumcision: no covenant promises. But such a circumcision speaks of the heart even more than of the flesh.

EIGHT and Leprosy

We next read a reference to this resurrection number EIGHT in chapter 14 regarding cleansing from leprosy and other infectious skin diseases, which were an ever-present and ever-recurring problem. When a person was diagnosed as being infected he was "cut off" from the camp. In effect he was dead to the life and worship of the community of faith. Should such a sickness be remedied a strict formula was to be followed: inspection by the priest preceded sacrifice, which after seven days (14:8,9) culminated in ceremonial washing and shaving.

"He who is to be cleansed shall wash his clothes, shave off all his hair, and wash himself with water, that he may be clean. After that he shall come into the camp, and shall stay outside his tent seven days. But the seventh day he shall shave off all the hair of his head and his beard and his eyebrows – all his hair he shall shave off all the hair of his head and his beard and his eyebrows – all his hair he shall shave off. He shall wash his clothes and wash his body in water, and he shall be clean." This paved the way for restoration to the community of the covenant – on the EIGHTH day. In essence the person was received back from the dead. He was experiencing a new beginning. He was living in the dimension of the resurrected. The celebration of the event was marked also by worship and sacrifice as a testimony to what God had done, and that there was now no impediment to his standing in the holiness of God.

EIGHT and Marriage

In the following chapter of Leviticus there is the interesting association of the number EIGHT with the sexual and private life of a man and a woman as well as a husband and wife. The sexual relationship of a husband and wife had been blessed according to Genesis 1:28, and even the rebellion of Adam and Eve did not remove the blessing of God on this remarkable expression of love and commitment of a man and woman to each other in accordance with God's holiness.

However the sin nature is perhaps nowhere more evident than in this act. It is so easy to exploit; it is so easy to be self-centred; it can so easily be sordid, especially in a world where sin is so often sex-centred. The association of the number EIGHT with this realm is saying that God continually provides a relationship with the power of renewal; that if a person draws from God His holiness, then his soul and spirit attitude in this act can in fact be blessed in the power of resurrection life. Because it is an ongoing passion between a man and a woman, the provision for constant renewal is there.

In the private domain of discharges, this is an expression of faith, for who would know about these matters unless the affected person discussed them? Such confession is commendable and expresses a conviction that God's Word is valid for life, for a man or a woman who is healed or whose discharge ceases celebrates his or her participation in the covenant fellowship on the EIGHTH day.

EIGHT and the Feasts

As we read on in Leviticus, into chapter 23, we come to the wonderful association of the number EIGHT with the religious Feasts of Israel. In verses 33 to 43 we read about the Feasts of Tabernacles. "Speak to the children of Israel, saying, 'The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the LORD . . . for seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the LORD. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation . . . also on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the fruit of the land, you shall keep the feast of the LORD for seven days; on the first day there shall be a sabbath-rest, and on the eighth day a sabbath-rest . . . '"

The EIGHTH day was to be a sacred assembly, an offering by fire, and no regular work was to be done. It was to be a day of celebration and of rest. What a tremendous testimony is embraced by this Feast and its regulations! It declared that after the giving of the Law and the wilderness experience (shown forth by the people living in sukkot or booths as per their journeyings), there was to be a new day that was marked by Rest. It was as if God was saying to them, and to us today, that we must come to the point of ceasing from our own efforts to save ourselves; of trying to keep the Law in our own strength; to learn to trust in Him who has provided a day of Rest wherein we have ceased from our own strivings and have learned to trust in His provision.

Such a concept is recorded in the New Testament, when, on the EIGHTH day of the Tabernacles Feast Yeshua stood up and said, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water" (John 7:37,38). This is a startling claim, and the hearers' reactions were no different from people's reactions today. What the Messiah was saying equates with the Rest principle where there is fulfilment without egocentric endeavour. What is required is only a personal commitment to the covenant purposes of God.

EIGHT in the Fields

The final reference in Leviticus is found in chapter 25:18-22. At first it seems strange that the number EIGHT is associated with the fields of Israel. If there is the significance of the new beginning, the resurrection, how does it apply in leaving the field fallow for the EIGHTH year? It is the very basis for living in the relationship with God through the resurrection principle, for it is the declaration of faith. It is the testimony that God will provide.

"And if you shall say, 'What shall we eat in the seventh year, since we shall not sow nor gather in our produce?' Then I will command my blessing on you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth produce enough for three years."

It is saying that God has the power to stretch the resources He has given to the achieving of the needs of the people. And when people were willing to abide by this principle their life was blessed by the spiritual blessings inherent in the command, even when the going appeared tough in the material realm.


It is no coincidence therefore that an earth-shattering event is declared to have occurred on the EIGHTH day. For the disciples of a Jewish Rabbi who was impaled by political and religious authorities in Judea became excited on the EIGHTH day. It was in fact the first day of a new beginning for them. The reality of the Resurrection had taken place after the sacrifice that had made atonement possible. The EIGHTH day began to make sense in a new way, more than it had ever done before.

One of the disciples, Thomas, had to wait for another time to appreciate the significance of the event. He did not believe that what his friends were saying was true, that the Resurrection was a fact indeed. So it was, that on the EIGHTH day Yeshua came and stood before Thomas. It was simply too much for this doubter; he bowed the knee and the heart to the One who turned the principle of the EIGHTH day into a living, vital, personal triumph. That triumph could be shared in by those willing to accept the testimony of the eye witnesses.

The EIGHTH day is still in operation, for God has not caused the sun to sink in the west and take with it the hope of men and women sharing in the dimension of the resurrected relationship.