The first new beginning
By Pastor Frederick K. Price Jr.

Eight is the number of new beginnings. We will see this defined in illustration in the Scriptures. We will start there – new beginnings. new day. new week, new month.

First Peter 3:18 reads: For Christ also suffered once for sins . . . .

There will never be another suffering or sacrifice for sins. The book of Hebrews is very clear that He offered Himself one time for sins forever.

. . .  also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust . . . .  We were unjust, deserving of death. He was just, offering himself for us . . . . that He might bring us to God . . . .

This is how we are reconciled to God – through Him – being put to death in the flesh . . . . He died in the flesh but was made alive by the Spirit.

Verse 19:  . . . by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison.

Now, if I just focus on verse 19, my mind can go numerous places. First, to preach to the spirits in prison, He would have to go where the spirits were imprisoned. Now, we know heaven is not a prison, so the only spiritual prison that I can think of would be the underworld. The whole of hell.

Now let's talk about these prisons briefly. We have Hades. That's the present prison for those who reject the Messiah. We also have the Tartarus, a specific prison for the angels who sinned in the days of Noah. And then, we have the bottomless pit, which is clearly, according to Luke 8, a prison for demonic spirits, spirits who were cast out and remanded to the bottomless pit, or the abyss.

So three specific prisons.

Some might even say to a lesser degree that Abraham's bosom, when it was occupied by the Old Testament righteous, was simultaneously a majority paradise but a minority prison because they were relegated there. They could not ascend at that point. They could not cash in on that righteous deposit made in their lives during the Old Covenant. The withdrawal would be the finished work of Christ at Calvary.

Verse 20 seems to give us a clue:  Who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah . . . .

Now we could point to all three of those groups being the result of the days of Noah – sinful man totally and completely wicked in the days of Noah.

The watchers came down and intermingled with human women in the days of Noah, and when they died their spirits became demons, all in the days of Noah, so it could still be either one of those groups.

But then, he says this: Who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.

So that helps us narrow which group of spirits in prison. It would have to be human spirits in prison in Hades.

Let's read the 20th verse again: Who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few . . . .

So, the souls who were “formerly” disobedient, of those human souls, there were a few. That is, eight. This is where we come up with the idea that the word few is equated with the number eight. Right? So, if we are in a restaurant and you ask me for a few fries, I'm only giving you eight. That's it. Don't ask for more. You said a few.

Eight souls were saved through water. That is from Peter’s first epistle to the church. Let's look at his second epistle, chapter two, fourth verse:

For if God did not spare the angels who sinned . . . .

Angels who sinned? This is sounding a lot like what we read in First Peter 3 when we were establishing which group of imprisoned spirits Christ preached to.

After reading those three verses in First Peter 3 – verses 18 through 20 – we were able to deduce that it was referring to the imprisoned spirits, human spirits in Hades. Now, although, Peter's second epistle he says, verse 4, For if God did not spare the angels who sinned . . . .  Which angels?

You know, the adversary sinned, and the third that fell with him sinned.  But which group are we talking about now? It says, but cast them down to hell. Hell in the Greek is tartarus. It’s the only place in Scripture where we see Tartarus mentioned – a specific place in hell.

It also says, and delivered them – the angels who sinned – into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment.

Verse 5: And did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly.

There's that number 8 again, and it has to do with the days of Noah, so we know that these were the angels who sinned in the days of Noah.

In both epistles to the church – Peter in his first and in his second – are highlighting this number 8 and highlighting a specific group associated with the one known as Noah. So let's just take a brief look at Noah and see if we can identify these eight souls who were saved in his day.

We know how the biblical record goes. God told Noah to build the ark, and His instructions were to build the ark and get two of every kind of bird of the air and beast of the field.

At the beginning of chapter 7 there were certain types who were to be numbered in sevens for the purpose of sacrifice. Nothing about the fish of the sea and specific-- once again – specific instructions as to how to--how long, how high, how wide to build this ark.

The Bible is very clear. God said, "Noah, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives will be the only humans on the ark.”

Let’s look at Genesis 8, verse 15:  Then God spoke to Noah, saying, “Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons' wives with you." Noah had three sons. So, if it's him in First Peter 3 and in and Second Peter 2, these are the eight souls.

They made it through the flood in the ark in 150 days. And then they were able to be released. Whatever they were about to see did not look like what they lived in when they boarded the ark.

Verse 15-17: Then God spoke to Noah, saying, “Go out of the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons' wives. Bring out with you every living thing of all flesh that is with you: birds and cattle and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth, so that they may abound on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth."

Where have we heard that before? That's Genesis 1:26. That's why God called man into this world to be fruitful and multiply and operate in His dominion and subdue His creation. Not each other, but the rest of His creation.

Verse 18: So Noah went out, and his sons and his wife and his sons' wives with him.

As far as they are concerned, it is a new earth, but it is the same earth cleansed with water.  It is a new moment – a new dispensation we could say – they are the only eight. And, therefore, eight is the number of new beginnings, because for them, and for the earth, it was a new beginning.

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