Why do we call this The Octagon Project?
In the early church the number eight symbolized the divinity and lordship of Jesus. We can thank the Apostle Thomas for that.
Thomas - the Great Confessor.
On the Sunday that Jesus rose from the dead, all of His Apostles saw Him except for one – Thomas. In the Gospel of John, verse 20:26, John records that Jesus appeared to both Thomas and the rest of the Apostles eight days after He was resurrected. It was at this time that He let Thomas touch His hands and His side, proving that He was, in fact, the same person who had been nailed to the cross.
Thomas then declared, “My Lord and My God”. This declaration has reverberated across the centuries, and it became a universal confession that Jesus was not just a human man, but that He was also God – a confession first made on this, the eighth day.
Sunday was Called the Eighth Day.
The universal symbolism of the number eight was revealed as early as the late first century. Many scholars believe that the Epistle of Barnabas was written by the same Barnabas who accompanied Paul on his first missionary journey (Acts 13:2). In this book, chapter 15, verse 9, the author says,
“Wherefore, also, we keep the eighth day with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead. And when He had manifested Himself, He ascended into the heavens.”
What was the Octave?
By the time Christianity was legalized by the Edict of Milan in 313 AD, there had developed a universal Church tradition called The Octave.
The Octave was the eighth day after Easter, and a week’s festival ensued, starting with Easter Sunday itself. While Resurrection Sunday was the high celebration (or high Sunday) of the week, the Octave Sunday (or low Sunday [the following Sunday]) was marked by Thomas’ epic confession - “My Lord and my God.”
In the years 381-386 AD, during her travels to the Holy Land, the Spanish lady pilgrim, Egeria, often referred to the Sunday after Easter as the Octave.
Since Jesus proved His immortality, and since Thomas made his confession on the eighth day after Jesus’ resurrection, the eighth day was not only called The Octave, but it was also referred to as the “Thomas” Sunday.
Thomas was no longer remembered as the doubter, but as the one who declared what Christians all over the world now confess – that Jesus is both Lord and God.
Then Came the Octagons.
At some time early in the fourth century the eight-sided octagon was adopted as the geometric symbol of Christ’s resurrection. Recently discovered ancient Christian mosaics in Megiddo and Bethlehem now support the theory that the octagon eventually became the geometric statement that Jesus was divine.
Octagonal Churches all Over the Holy Land.
When Christianity was legalized in 313 AD, many of the original churches and church rotundas were constructed with an octagonal configuration. This is clearly seen in ruins throughout the Holy Land, where all of these churches stood as silent architectural witnesses that Jesus Christ was both God and man. Many baptisteries were also built in octagonal shapes.
That is why we call our ministry The Octagon Project. It is our confession that Jesus Christ is both Lord and God.