A Question I Was Asked:

Any Significance to Noah Being the "eighth" Person to be Saved From the Flood?

Any significance to Noah being the "eighth" person to be saved From the Flood? I am mainly thinking of 2 Peter 2:5.

UK Apologetics Reply:

Okay, let us look at this.

and did not spare the ancient world, but preserved Noah, the eighth, a preacher of righteousness, when He brought a flood upon the ungodly world; (2 Peter 2:5, English Majority Text Version).

Yes, it is quite important to preserve the word 'eighth' here because, lamentably, quite a number of modern versions have dropped it. 'Eighth' comes from the Greek 'ogdoos,' word number G3590 in the Strong's system. There is a certain significance about eight and eighth in the Bible. The boys of Israel were to be circumcised on the eighth day, for example (see Genesis 17:12, Leviticus 12:3 and Philippians 3:5).

Whilst it can be unwise to get too extreme into the matter of biblical numbers, nevertheless, 'eight' certainly seems to be the number of salvation, or new creation. Over in the New Testament when Jesus was raised on the First Day of the week a few (understandably) started calling it 'the eighth day,' the sense is that it moves beyond the Sabbath (the seventh day) which was about obedience under the old covenant, to a new day of creation, or the New Covenant. To quote from my Sunday Worship article,

Interestingly, the Sabbath command is never repeated in the New Testament, not even once. Furthermore, Jesus is often critical of the Jewish authorities who took a 'picky' and literalistic approach to Sabbath day observance. Jesus was quite prepared to heal the sick on this day, something which the Pharisees strongly objected to such was their legalistic approach to the sabbath. The New Testament teaches that the Sabbath is fulfilled in Christ (Matthew 11:28-30). The book of Hebrews specifically shows how not only the weekly Sabbath, but the 'Promised Land' itself are vague foreshadowings of the Eternal Rest which Christians are to enjoy in the New Heavens and New Earth of the future. The faithful finally inherit this - but only in and through Christ. (Carefully study Hebrews 4).

But it is important to understand that Christians now understood themselves to be part of a New Creation, in comparison to the earth's original creation (2 Corinthians 5:16-19). This exciting New Testament teaching is often strangely lacking from modern preaching. God created the world on the First Day but an estrangement occurred, of course, when Adam and Eve fell into sin. In due course, however, God sent Jesus - the Second Adam - and, as Paul says, Christians are really part of God's New Creation. In Genesis 1, on the First Day of creation week, God separated the light from the darkness. In his Gospel, John uses that concept, going back to creation (in his first chapter) and saying, "The true light which illuminates all men was coming into the world" (John 1:9). This, of course, clearly refers to Christ and lends itself to the conception that those who accept Christ become part of a new First Day.

I continue,

Secondly, we find in the account what can justly be referred to as the first Sunday evening worship service! (John 20:19-22). And as if to underline the desirability of seeking after the Lord on this day, the disciples can again be found assembling on this day one week later (John 20:26). (The Old King James says here; "after eight days..." and this is true to the original Greek, but misleading since it appears that the inclusive method of counting is being used here; One Sunday to another being eight days. Almost every modern translation says here, "One week later") Again, Jesus appears as if to bless this assembly. Quite obviously, Jesus did not appear in order to rebuke His disciples for "keeping" the wrong day! (From Why Worship on a Sunday?).

Furthermore, the day at the conclusion of the Feast of Tabernacles which Israel - under the old covenant - were required to observe (but not you and I today) was also called 'an eighth day' (Leviticus 23:36). Once again, the typology here is very interesting. This 'Last Great Day' was an annual sabbath. The Feast of Tabernacles looked forwards with much rejoicing to the Kingdom of God (which Christians would commence entering upon the death and resurrection of our Lord), but the very next day (the eighth) was a Holy Sabbath typifying God's people finally entering a New Creation, bringing us in line with the events of Revelation 21-22.

So we may see that 'eighth' can be seen as symbolic of a new creation, or new First Day of Creation. This principle can be perceived as stamped on Noah, on circumcision, the feasts of Israel and, of course, on Jesus Christ Himself in His resurrection.

Robin A. Brace. April 29th, 2015.