The Sacred Number 8

Aug 13, 2010
2 min read

According to research done by Val Brinkerhoff, the number 8 seems to be tied to the concepts of rebirth and purification, both in scripture and sacred architecture. Below are a few examples:

To the Israelites, the 8th was the day after the Sabbath and was the first day of a new week, indicating a completed cycle

On the 8th, the Israelites  sacrificed the firstlings of their flocks.

  • 8 souls were saved by the ark of Noah.
  • Israels solemn assemblies were on the 8th day.
  • The High Priest of the temple wore 8 different articles of clothing: 1 crown, 2 breastplate, 3 robe, 4 apron, 5 white undergarments, 6 belt, 7 turban, 8 pants.
  • Circumcision was done on the 8th day.
  • Christ was resurrected on the 8th day.
  • The shape of the New Jerusalem, as described in the Book of Revelation, is described as an 8-sided cube.
  • The 8th millennium will be the beginning of the new age of our eternity.
  • The resurrection of some will be in the 2nd resurrection in the 8th millennium before the final judgment.
  • The Brother of Jared built 8 barges.
  • Nephi and his family spent 8 years wandering in the wilderness.
  • Alma and his people traveled 8 days to escape King Noah and his army.
  • The Book of Mormon golden plates had 3 as well as 8 other witnesses and were 8 inches long.
  • The Interpreters or Urim and Thummim that Joseph Smith had were 8 inches long and the silver bow was bent into a figure 8 shape.
  • In LDS theology, a person must be a minimum of 8 years old to be baptized.
  • Many LDS chapels feature 8 lights, 8 pillars (4 on each side of the entrances), octagon-shaped clocks, and other 8-sided architectural motifs.
  • LDS temples commonly feature 8-sided motifs.

Several of the sources above came from the book series “The Day Star: Reading Sacred Architecture” which I highly recommend.

One of the things I learned from the books listed above, was that each number can be tied to a particular shape (this may be covered in more depth in a future post); 3 is tied to a triangle, 4 a square, 6 a hexagon and so forth. The number 8 is tied to the shape of an octagon. We can see these physical shapes being used in scripture, but more dramatically used in the sacred architecture of LDS Temples.

So the next time you are at a temple, pay a little closer attention t0 the number 8, or the octagon and think about why it may have been placed there and what the Lord is trying to teach you by the symbols, or the “architectural representations of doctrinal themes” as Boyd K. Packer put it once.


Updated: August, 20, 2010

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7 years ago

Just found your site and have started reading. I knew about the meaning of the number 8, but didn’t realize all the places it occurred. Very interesting!

7 years ago

Take a close look at a pic of the SL Temple. At the top of the wall along the roofline on the sides you will see a feature that looks like the cap of the colums. It gives the temple the look of battlements of a medievel structure. (Sorry I can’t describe it any better than that). There are 8 of those features. In fact as you look closely at the towers on the ends of the temple you will see that each tower has 8 as well. In total that is 8 sets of 8. Interesting… (I had… Read more »

7 years ago

I recently noticed in Isa 58 that Isaiah lists the blessings associated with keeping the law of the fast. Is it a coinsidence that he listed 8 blessings? No–I don’t believe in conincidences within scriptural content.

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