There is a little known holy day talked about in the Bible that began at sunset tonight and runs through sunset tomorrow night. This Jewish holy day is called Shemini Atzeret or The Eighth Day. It is always on the day after day seven of Sukkot. It is a separate festival and yet is always connected to and celebrated with Sukkot. Scripture is very clear about this day: "For seven days present offerings made to the Lord by fire, and on the eighth day hold a sacred assembly and present an offering made to the Lord by fire. It is the closing assembly; do no regular work."(Leviticus 23:36)
During the seven days of Sukkot (The Feast of Tabernacles) God's people gather together to thank Him for the harvest and to pray for the rains to come to bless their crops for the next year. The eighth day is a new beginning. Prophetically, the meaning of the number eight is to put off the old self and begin anew. It is the number of sanctification and resurrection. God created the earth in six days and called for day seven to be one of rest. On day eight, He resumed His work. "The Lord God formed the man and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." (Genesis 2:7) We see that is was on day eight that God breathed the Spirit of life into Adam.
It was fitting that during worship this morning we sang a song written by All Sons and Daughters called "Great are You Lord." The chorus says, "Great are You, Lord. It's Your breath in our lungs so we pour out our praise; we pour out our praise. It's Your breath in our lungs, so we pour out our praise to You only." Isn't it interesting that God breathed the Spirit of life into man on the eighth day, and we sang about this as we were about to begin the eighth day celebration talked about in Scripture?
Here are some other significant things about the number eight in the Bible: When the floods covered the earth, God saved Noah and his family in the ark. There were eight people in this family. It is on the eighth day that circumcision takes place. (Genesis 17:12) Isaac, John the Baptist, Jesus and Paul were all circumcised on the eighth day. Nehemiah led the Israelites in a celebration of Sukkot for seven days. Scripture says, "...They celebrated the feast for seven days, and on the eighth day, in accordance with the regulation, there was an assembly." (Nehemiah 8:18)
Regarding the celebration of this festival, Rabbi Jonathan Cahn says the number eight speaks of infinite and beyond completion. It breaks the barrier of time. It points us toward resurrection and new life. Rabbi Cahn also says, "There are not enough days in a week to contain my love for the Lord." Isn't that the truth! God is delighted with our love and looks forward to the day when we will sit at the banqueting table with Him forever. In the meantime, He has breathed the life of His Spirit in us to keep us until the day when we will spend eternity with Him. Day eight points us to His eternal love and our eternal life with Him. Now that is worth our highest praise!
Joan E. Mathias