Its Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance
by E.W. Bullinger
Philologos Religious Online Books
ITS SPIRITUAL SIGNIFICANCE
In Hebrew the number eight is hnm# (Sh'moneh), from the root Nm# (Shah'meyn), "to make fat," "cover with fat," "to super-abound." As a participle it means "one who abounds in strength," etc. As a noun it is "superabundant fertility," "oil," etc. So that as a numeral it is the superabundant number. As seven was so called because the seventh day was the day of completion and rest, so eight, as the eighth day, was over and above this perfect completion, and was indeed the first of a new series, as well as being the eighth. Thus it already represents two numbers in one, the first and eighth. Let us first consider the connection between
Just as we saw the connection between the numbers six and seven together (pp. 158-167), so we must note the remarkable connection between seven and eight when used together.
Seven means, as we have seen, according to its etymology, that which is spiritually complete or satisfying; while eight denotes that which is superabundant or satiating. Hence we often find these two numbers associated with these distinctions.
were eight in number; seven before Isaac was offered up, and the eighth when he had been received "in a figure" from the dead.
- Gen 12:1-3, sovereignty.
- Gen 12:7, the seed.
- Gen 13:14-17, Divine assurance, rising and walking on resurrection ground.
- Gen 15:13-21, the limits of the land; the 400 years; the 4th generation.
- Gen 17:1-22, invincible grace.
- Gen 18:9-15, human failure and imperfection.
- Gen 21:12, Spiritual blessing headed up in the seed.
- Gen 22:15-18, resurrection blessing.
It will be noted that each covenant blessing is stamped with the character of its numerical significance.
were eight in number. Seven times before Jacob's death, and an eighth time after.
- In Genesis 37:6, he tells his dream about the sheaves of wheat (earthly glory).
- His second dream about the sun, moon, and stars (heavenly glory, completing the double witness of John 3:12).
- His message of love to them from his father, when he is rejected and cast into the pit, but raised (unknown to them) to the right hand of power.
- They are compelled to go to Joseph, Genesis 42.
- Again they go, Genesis 43:15.
- A third time (Gen 44:13), when Joseph proclaims himself. Three times they had denied him. Three times they have to go to him; and the third time, after deep exercise of heart, reach the place of blessing. But it is (like the No. 6) incomplete. It needs the
- "And Israel [no longer Jacob] took his journey with all that he had" (Gen 46). Nothing more is to be desired, so he says, "Now let me die, since I have seen thy face," etc. (v 30). The history is spiritually complete; but there remains another communication.
- Jacob has passed away, and they are face to face with Joseph, a type of Christ in resurrection glory (Gen 50:15, etc.).
There are eight particulars in connection with punishment; but seven stand in a different category, not being possible if the eighth were inflicted, viz., "Life for life."
|1. Life for life,||8|
|2. Eye for eye,||7|
|3. Tooth for tooth,|
|4. Hand for hand,|
|5. Foot for foot,|
|6. Burning for burning,|
|7. Wound for wound,|
|8. Stripe for stripe.|
Seven times we have the phrase "As the LORD commanded Moses,"* and once (v 16), "according to all that the LORD commanded him."
* Verse 23, "had commanded," is the same as the other six in the Hebrew.
was the only feast which was kept eight days. The eighth is distinguished from the seventh. See Leviticus 23:39, and compare verses 34-36; Numbers 29:39, and Nehemiah 8:18.
Eight appeals of Solomon for his prayer to be heard. Seven times, "Hear Thou from heaven," and once (v 21), "Hear Thou from thy dwelling-place, from heaven." Similarly in 1 Kings 8, the parallel passage.
There are eight sentences describing the vineyard, but seven give the characteristics, and one the result.
Seven led into the outer court (40:22,26), and eight led from the outer to the inner (40:31,34,37).*
The seven led from labour to rest, the eight from rest to worship.
* How many led into the Temple the Hebrew Text does not say. The Septuagint says there were ten. See verse 49, RV text and margin.
eight times.* Seven times were before the cross, but the eighth time after He rose from the dead.
* Omitting of course the scene in the Temptation.
Seven unities, but the seventh is two-fold—"God and Father"—making eight in all.
There are seven graces, but (v 14) over all these there is "love," which is the bond of perfectness, the upper garment which completes and unites the others.
"The wisdom that is from above" is enumerated in seven particulars, but the fifth is double, making eight in all ("full of mercy and good fruits").
were eight in number; but seven were "born after the flesh," while one, the eighth, was "by promise."
was on the eighth day, after abiding "at the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation day and night seven days" (Lev 8:35, 9:1).
there were eight classes of furniture, while in the Tabernacle there were seven:—
|1 Ark||1 Ark|
|1 Mercy-seat||1 Mercy-seat|
|1 Altar of Incense||1 Altar of Incense|
|10 Candlesticks||1 Candlestick|
|10 Tables of shewbread||1 Table of shewbread|
|1 Altar of burnt-offering||1 Altar of burnt-offering|
|10 Lavers||1 Laver|
|1 Brasen Sea|
according to 1 Samuel 16:6, etc., and 1 Samuel 17:12; but owing doubtless to the death of one son without issue, and hence excluded from the genealogies, David would be called in 1 Chronicles 2:15 "the seventh."
These will suffice to show the connection between the numbers seven and eight. Let us now consider the number
It is 7 plus 1. Hence it is the number specially associated with Resurrection and Regeneration, and the beginning of a new era or order.
When the whole earth was covered with the flood, it was Noah "the eighth person" (2 Peter 2:5) who stepped out on to a new earth to commence a new order of things. "Eight souls" (1 Peter 3:20) passed through it with him to the new or regenerated world.
Hence, too, circumcision was to be performed on the eighth day (Gen 17:12), because it was the foreshadowing of the true circumcision of the heart, that which was to be "made without hands," even "the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ" (Col 2:11). This is connected with the new creation.
The first-born was to be given to Jehovah on the eighth day (Exo 22:29,30). But
is the great truth which is signified. Christ rose from the dead on "the first day of the week," that was of necessity the eighth day. And it is remarkable that the Bible contains the record of
(other than the Lord and the saints):
The three in the Old Testament correspond to the three raised by our Lord.
3 in the Old Testament
3 in the Gospels
2 in Acts 9 and 20
The son of a widow—
Zarepta (1 Kings 17:17-25) and
Nain (Luke 7:11-18).
The child of a rich person—
Son of the woman of Shunem (2 Kings 4:32-37),
The daughter of Jarius (Mark 5:35; Luke 8:49).
- A full grown man...after burial—
In Elisha's tomb (2 Kings 13:20,21),
Lazarus (John 11).
lasted eight days, with a special reference to the Incarnation (John 1:14).
also took place on the eighth day (inclusive reckoning) after the first announcement of Christ's "sufferings," and it was the showing forth of the "glory" which should follow at His coming again.
Eight is the first cubic number, the cube of two, 2 x 2 x 2. We have seen that three is the symbol of the first plane figure, and that four is the first square. So here, in the first cube, we see something of transcendent perfection indicated, something, the length and breadth and height of which are equal. This significance of the cube is seen in the fact that the "Holy of Holies," both in the Tabernacle and in the Temple, were cubes. In the Tabernacle it was a cube of 10 cubits. In the Temple it was a cube of 20 cubits. In Revelation 20 the New Jerusalem is to be a cube of 12,000 furlongs. Dr. Milo Mahan is inclined to believe that the Ark of Noah, too, had a kind of sacred Shechinah in "the window finished in a cubit above"—a cube of one. If so, we have the series of cubes:—
|1 =||The Ark|
|103 =||1,000, The Tabernacle|
|203 =||8,000, The Temple|
|12,0003 =||1,728,*000,000,000, the New Jerusalem|
* This 1728, too, is a remarkable number, viz., 82 x 33.
outside the Psalms:
- Redemption, Exodus 15.
- Supply and maintenance, Numbers 21:17.
- Moses witnessing to the grace of God and the unfaithfulness of man, Deuteronomy 32.
- Victory over oppression, Judges 5.
- David, God's elect, delivered from all his foes, 2 Samuel 22.
- The Song of Songs.
- The song of the well-beloved touching Israel, God's vineyard, Isaiah 5.
- This (the eighth) waits to be sung on resurrection ground (Isa 26), for it does not come till after "death is swallowed up in victory," 25:8.
were eight in number, marking the Divine character of his mission:
- The shutting up of heaven, 1 Kings 17:1; James 5:17; Luke 4:25.
- Multiplying the widow's meal, 2 Kings 17:14-16.
- Raising the widow's son, verses 17-23.
- Causing fire to come down from heaven, 1 Kings 18:37, 38.
- Causing rain to come down from heaven, verses 41-45.
- Causing fire to come down from heaven, 2 Kings 1:10.
- The same, verse 12.
- Dividing the Jordan, 2 Kings 2:8.
- Dividing the Jordan, 2 Kings 2:14.
- Healing the waters, verse 21.
- Cursing the young men,* verse 24.
- Procuring water for the three kings, 2 Kings 3:16-20.
- Multiplying the widow's oil, 2 Kings 4:1-7.
- Raising the widow's son, 4:37.
- Healing the deadly pottage, verse 38.
- Feeding the hundred men, verses 42-44.
- The healing of Naaman, 2 Kings 5:1-19.
- The smiting of Gehazi, verses 20-27.
- Causing the iron to swim, 2 Kings 6:1-7.
- Opening the eyes of his servant, verse 17.
- Smiting the Syrian army with blindness, verse 18.
- Restoring their sight, verse 20.
- Arresting the king's messenger, verses 30-33.
- A dead man raised by touching his bones, 2 Kings 13:20, 21.
* The word is used of Isaac, aged 28; Joseph when 39; Rehoboam when 40; Shadrach and his companions in Babylon.The use and significance of the number eight in Scripture is seen to recur in marvelous exactitude. It may indeed be said that
for everywhere it has to do with the LORD. It is the number of His name, IHSOUS, Jesus:—
It is the number stamped upon the Old Testament, the numbers of its books in all the MSS being 24 (3x8). See p. 25.
In the book which relates to His great Apocalypse or Revelation, there are in the introduction which sets forth the glory of the Lord, to be revealed in the day of the Lord, eight references to the Old Testament on which the claims of His Lordship are based.
It will be noted, moreover, that these are not given at haphazard. Our attention is called to their importance by the order in which they are given. They are arranged in the form of an epanodos, the first being from the same book as the eighth, the second corresponding in the same way to the seventh, the third to the sixth, and the fourth to the fifth. Thus the Divine seal of superabundant perfection is there set on the Scriptures which declare the Lordship of Jesus:
A. 5. Isaiah 55:4.B. 7-. Daniel 7:13.A. -16-. Isaiah 49:2.B. 13-15. Daniel 7:9, 13, 22, 10:5, 6.
C. -7. Zechariah 12:10.D. 8. Isaiah 41:4, 44:6, 48:12.C. 12. Zechariah 4:2.
D. 11. Isaiah 41:4, 44:6; 48:12.
are also marked by gematria and stamped with the number eight as a factor:
- CristoV, Christ, 1480 (8x185).
- KurioV, Lord, 800 (8x100).
- KurioV hmwn, Our Lord, 1768 (8x221).
- Swthr, Saviour, 1408 (82x 32).
- 'Emmanouhl, Emmanuel, 25600, (83x50).
- Messias, Messiah, 656 (8x82).
- UioV, Son, 880 (8x110).
We ought also to note that the other factors, beside the prevailing eight, are full of significance.
But here we must consider the two numbers
that we may afterwards compare and contrast the two. For this purpose we must consider the number thirteen here, and out of its otherwise proper order.
As to the significance of thirteen, all are aware that it has come down to us as a number of ill-omen. Many superstitions cluster around it, and various explanations are current concerning them.
Unfortunately, those who go backwards to find a reason seldom go back far enough. The popular explanations do not, so far as we are aware, go further back than the Apostles. But we must go back to the first occurrence of the number thirteen in order to discover the key to its significance. It occurs first in Gen 14:4, where we read "Twelve years they served Chedorlaomer, and the thirteenth year they REBELLED."
Hence every occurrence of the number thirteen, and likewise of every multiple of it, stamps that with which it stands in connection with rebellion, apostasy, defection, corruption, disintegration, revolution, or some kindred idea.
The second mention of thirteen is in connection with Ishmael, Gen 17:25. He was thirteen years old when Abraham circumcised him and admitted him into the covenant to which he was a stranger in heart, and which ended in his rebellion and rejection.
We see it stamped upon the very fore-front of Revelation. For while the opening statement of Gen 1:1 is composed of seven words and twenty-eight letters (4x7), the second verse consists of fourteen words, but fifty-two letters; fifty-two being 4x13 tells of some apostasy or rebellion which caused the ruin of which that verse speaks.
But it is when we come to
that the most wonderful results are seen. These results may be stated thus, briefly: That the names of the LORD's people are multiples of eight, while the names of those who apostatized, or rebelled, or who were in any sense His enemies, are multiples of thirteen. This statement, if it be proved, is one of the greatest evidences of verbal inspiration which the world has yet seen. The discovery of the great principle is due, we believe, to the late Dr. Milo Mahan, of New York, who has given many examples of it in his work already referred to, now long out of print. The effect of this law can hardly be estimated in establishing the presence of an ever-present working of the Holy Spirit in inditing the very words and even the letters of Scripture. No human foresight or arrangement could have secured such a result beforehand; no human powers could have carried it out in such perfection. No matter where we look, we find the working of the law without cessation, without a break, without a flaw from beginning to end. Only one conclusion is possible, and that is that the Bible has but one Author, an eternal, omniscient Author, designing, superintending, working, and carrying out His own infinite plans.
Let us take a survey of this wondrous field
The numerical value of the Seth line of names collectively is a multiple of 8; whilst those of the Cain line collectively is a multiple of 13.
Taking the Noah group separately, we have:
* Japheth was the eldest son of Noah, though Shem was chosen for the genealogy of Jesus Christ.
Without Ham, the three names, Noah, Shem, and Japheth, equal 888. With Ham they equal 936, as above; but this, though it is a multiple of 8, is at the same time a multiple of 13, and of 9 also, the number of judgment.
The gematria of the whole Scripture, Gen 5:6-24, which contains the record of these names, amounts to 62960 (or 8x7870).
The family of Lamech is also significant if looked at separately:
- Lamech and Adah 169 (132)
- The two wives, Adah and Zillah 611 (13x47)
- Jabal, his firstborn, the father of the Bedouin 42 (the No. of Antichrist)
- Tubal Cain 598 (13x46)
- The whole family, including the daughter, Naamah 1924 (or 13x148)
The history of the Cain family is given in Gen 4:1-25, and spreads over 130 years (13x10). See Gen 5:3.
Further, the whole Scripture which records the history, Gen 4:1-25, yields by gematria 76882 (13x5914). There is, however, a remarkable exception which "proves the rule." Verse 25 records the birth of Seth, and its value is 6560 (8x820); verse 26, also, which records the birth of his son Enos, and tells how men began then to "call upon the name of the LORD," yields 3064 (8x383).
Contrast this with verse 1, where the numerical value of the words "and she conceived and bare Cain" is 1612 (13x124).
The years of Adam during the days of Cain, before the birth of Seth, were 130 (13x10): see Gen 5:3. While after the birth of Seth he lived 800 years (8x100), Gen 5:4.
in Gen 4:23,24, is 4667 (13x359); while the sentence pronounced on Cain in vv 10-13 is 10283 (13x791).
The record in Gen 6, which gives the apostasy of man, leading up to the judgment of the Flood, is stamped and branded throughout with significant numbers:
- Verses 1-3 amount to 7272 (6x1212).
- Verse 2 amounts to 3198 (13x6x41).
- Verse 4, "the same were mighty men which were of old, men of renown" 1703 (13x131).
- Verses 5-7, which speak concerning the corruption 10335 (13x795).
- Verses 1-7 21672 (62x602).
But now contrast vv 8-10 concerning Noah--"But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD," etc., 7008 (8x876):
- Verses 11-17, the end of all flesh, the command to build the ark, and the threat of the Flood 33540 (13x2580).
- Verses 14-16, concerning the ark 17668 (4x4417).
- Verses 12, 13 and 17 together, concerning the violence and corruption 13320 (666x20).
- Verses 18-22, which speak of the covenant to save Noah and his house, while they are stamped with the number 13 (which is the number of atonement as well as of sin, see below), are stamped also with the triple five, the 15 of perfect grace by which Noah was called, and by the number 2, which tells of incarnation and deliverance. The gematria of these verses is 15002 (13x1154).
The Canaanite names:
THE DESCENDANTS OF JOKTAN (Gen 10:25-29)
|Joktan (the 13th from Shem)(132)||169|
|Peleg (his brother)||113|
|Salah (his grandfather) (132x2)||338|
|His 13 sons:|
The whole passage (Gen 10:25-29) yields the number 10647 (132x63). Such are the pains taken to emphasise the rise of the progenitors of the Saracens, for Joktan settled in S. Arabia, while Ishmael settled in Arabia Petrea.
Thus the entire generation is 4832 (8x604).
Abraham had eight sons. Seven of them were born "after the flesh," while the eighth was "by promise."
* Isaac's household was a divided one, as well as Jacob's; hence we have the 13 as a factor as well as 8.
Leah's Six Sons
Add parents' names (Jacob 182, and Leah 36), and we have 1944 (8x243).
The whole family of Jacob, including Ephraim (331) and Manasseh (395) = 4512 (83x4000).
are enumerated in some 18 (3x6) different ways, in which one is always omitted. For there were 12 tribes; but there were also 13, telling of God's design for perfect government, and of man's apostasy from that government.
- In Deut 32 Simeon is left out.
- In Rev 7 Dan and Ephraim are omitted (Joseph and Levi being inserted).
- Generally it is Levi that is omitted.
- Arranged in their 4 camps, as in Num 2, their value is 3736 (8x467).
- Arranged as in Rev 7, the value (according to the Greek spelling, of course) is 8480 (8x1060).
Arranged as in Num 13:3-16, in connection with the rebellion on the return of the 12 spies, we see defection at once; for all the representatives of the tribes failed except Caleb and Joshua (788).
- The whole passage = 17654 (13x1358).
- From verse 4-16 = 12038 (13x926).
To go back, however, to Genesis, we now take
|The generations of||836|
THE ELEVEN DUKES OF EDOM
Gen 36:40-43 is by gematria 9880: thus--
- Verse 40 = 5453
- Verse 41 = 670
- Verse 42 = 1340
- Verse 43 = 2417 (as far as "he is Esau")
- Total 9880 (13x760)
The word Pwl) (al-luph), "duke," amounts to 117 (13x9).
And eleven times repeated, it is still a multiple of 13, viz., 1287 (13x99).
THEIR DESCENDANTS IN GEN 25:3
|Sons of Dedan||120|
THE SONS OF MIDIAN (Gen 25:4)
|Sons of Midian||166|
The phrase which concludes the lists, "All these are the sons of Keturah," has for its value 468 (13x36), making with the numbers above 5213 for the whole group, or 13x401.
The whole passage is also a multiple of 13.
Ben-Ammi (children of Ammi) 182 (13x14)
The whole passage (Gen 19:31-38) is a multiple of 13
- "And there came two angels to Sodom at even," 640 (8x80)
- "And Lot sat in the gate of Sodom"* = 1313
- Verse 1. The whole verse, 4299, significant of Antichrist (42) and judgment (9).
- Verses 1-25 = 90441 (13x9x773).
- Verses 26-29, describing the results of the overthrow = 14274 (13x9x122).
- Verses 1-29, the entire account = 104715 (13x9x895).
- Lots words in verse 7 = 777.
Verse 25. The work of the LORD in the overthrow = 2888.
- The account in the Second Epistle of Peter = 6999
* Even the expression in 2 Peter 2:7, "and righteous Lot," is 1326 (13x102).It will be observed how we have here not only the number thirteen, but also the number nine, which...is the number of judgment.
is also stamped with the number thirteen, though not by gematria, for the city was compassed once each day for six days, and seven times on the seventh day, making 13 times in all (6+7). Jericho, wxry, is 234 which is 13x2x9 (nine being the number of judgment).
who were raised up as saviours in a time of apostasy and rebellion exhibit both these factors, 8 and 13
Abimelech the usurper (Judges 9) by his name
The Judges period ends under Samuel, 377 (13x29), and the last three names which come before us are--
Eli, Hophni, and Phinehas, which together amount to 462 (42x11).
|Sons of Saul||399|
|Abner son of Ner||565|
THE JUDAH AND ISRAEL LINES OF KINGS
are stamped in a remarkable manner with these numbers.
There are two periods specially marked with regard to Israel.
The number 65 is associated with the separate existence of the Ten Tribes in Isa 7:8, "Within threescore and five years shall Ephraim be broken, that it be not a people." From that time, that is to say, from the last year of Jeroboam II to the carrying away of Israel was exactly 65 years, or 5 times 13, which characterised the disintegration which was going on in the nation.
But, more than this, the number 390 was also stamped upon Israel as being the whole duration of the separate existence of the Ten Tribes from the day they rebelled against Rehoboam to the day they were led away captive. This we see from Eze 4:4, 5, where the command was given to Ezekiel, "Lie thou upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it; according to the number of the days that thou shalt be upon it, thou shalt bear their iniquity. For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days; so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel."
Now 390 is thirteen times thirty,* and the duration of Israel's rebellion is sufficiently and appropriately branded upon it.
On the other hand, when we turn to Judah we see the number 8 pervading it. For the same prophet, in the next verse, is commanded to lie on his right side forty days to bear the iniquity of the house of Judah--each day for a year. We ought to note in passing that the name of Ezekiel, who foretells the duration and end of this apostasy, is 156 (13x12); while the words of the prophecy, Eze 4:1-6, amount to 36673 (132x7x31), and the whole passage, 4:1-8, to 43069 (13x3313).
* Commentators entirely miss the point when they say that 390 = 10x39, instead of 13x30!
The fulfillment ought also to be noted. The 390 years were to signify not only the years of apostasy, but were also to signify the 390 days of the siege of Jerusalem; viz., 13 months (30x13). The siege commenced on the 10th day of the 10th month of the 9th year of Zedekiah (2 Kings 25:1-4), and it was taken on the 9th day of the 4th month of the 11th year of the same king. This gives a period of 18 months. But the siege was raised for about 5 months (see Jer 37), while Nebuchadnezzar's army was withdrawn for fear of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who had come up to meet him.
Thus we have the two numbers stamped by the history; upon Judah 8, and upon Israel 13.
Now look at
1. The spelling, which sometimes varies, is taken according to the first occurrence of the name.
2. In the 39th (3x13) year of his reign he forsook the LORD (2 Chron 16:12).
3. Amaziah = 146 or 152 according to the spelling. If 146, then the total will be 4394 (132x2). But if we add Saul 337, David 14, and Solomon 375, it is 5120 (83x10).
4. He had reigned 52 (4x13) years when he apostatized (2 Chron 26:3,21).
THE LEADERS WHO RETURNED FROM BABYLON (Ezra 2:2)
Other chiefs mentioned in other connections are--
* In the Hebrew Text rpsm, Mizpar is repeated again after Baanah. If we count this in, then the total, instead of 3008, will be 3388, which though not a multiple of 8 is very significant.
|Shesbazzar, the prince of Judah||892|
|Ezra the scribe||619|
It is difficult to observe a strict order in the presentation of these phenomena, because the results are best shown by direct contrast. For example, if we take out the names of the adversaries who came in direct opposition to the Lord, the law will be more clearly seen.
|"And the rest of their companions"||989|
|Rehum the chancellor||475|
|Shimshai the scribe||991|
These Companions (Ezra 4:9) are the--
Together they all make 6578 (13x506).
The men who took strange wives (Ezra 10:17-44) were in number 113. The gematria of their names is 38194 (132x226).