Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;
but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,
I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God
(Philippians 3.13-14 NASB )
D ECEMBER 30, 2008
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.” Simon Peter went
up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there
were so many, the net was not torn. (John 21.10-11 NASB)
I am fascinated by God’s use of numbers in Scripture. Those who have studied this matter have
discovered the repetition of certain numbers in a variety of ways throughout Scripture. Suffice it to say
that God speaks to us not only in words but in numbers, and often the words themselves represent
numbers with very specific meanings. The Hebrew and Greek languages use their Arabic characters to
also represent their numbers, a system or technique called gematria . For example, in the Hebrew, aleph
equals 1, beth equals 2, gimel equals 3, and, in the Greek, alpha equals 1, beta equals 2, gamma equals
3. Totaling the numeric values represented by the characters in a word or even an expression or
sentence yields another numeric value. These values can then be compared to other similar expressions
to see if there is any correlation. It is amazing how often similar words or expressions have the exact
same numeric value. For example, the words or expressions Calvary, lambs, moon, the Rock, the
foundation, and lampstand have numeric values of 301.
Bonnie Gaunt has written many books on the numeric biblical code and has uncovered some fascinating
correlations between numeric values that are beyond coincidence. Consider what she wrote in her book
he Bible’s Awesome Number Code , Adventures Unlimited Press, 2000, page 55.
“It was on a lonely hill outside the walls of Jerusalem that this Heavenly One, who came to earth to
be born, to suffer, and to die as a man, hung on a cruel cross that afternoon. The hill was Calvary.
Its Greek name was Kranion , whose numeric value is 301. At 3:01 in the afternoon, as he looked
heavenward and said “It is finished,” the moon began to eclipse. It was 3:01 Greenwich time that
the eclipse began. God makes no mistakes with His timing, nor does He rely on coincidences. The
word “moon” in the New Testament is σεληνη, and its Gematria is 301. Yes, He who had formed
the moon and put it into its orbit around the earth, now had given up His human life at 3:01, on a
hill called Calvary (301) precisely when the moon (301) began to eclipse. It was the exact hour
when the priests were killing the lambs for Passover. Lambs has a numeric value of 301.”
In addition to a numeric value having a specific meaning, it may also refer to a very specific period of
time. For example, the number 7 and multiples of 7 (e.g., 49, 70, 490) often refer to days or years. Thus,
we have Daniel’s seventy weeks or 490 years.
The more one studies what is called the number code of Scripture, the more one realizes that the word of
God could only have come from a source outside the realm of man. Consequently, I have often stated
that God is the mathematical Genius of the Universe.
Now, let us look at the number 153 as recorded by John.
Before offering my view of the number 153 in light of Jesus’ last miracle as recorded in John, let us
consider some thoughts as presented by E.W. Bullinger in his book Number In Scripture , Kregel, 1967.
He makes the point that due to its oddity in Scripture, this number has caught the attention of biblical
scholars down through the centuries, and he summarizes some of these views, some of which have
more merit than others. One thing he notes is that the number 153 is a factor of 9 times 17. The number
9 can signify the fruit of the spirit and the number 17 can signify victory . On page 275 of his book, he
explains that the expression “sons of God” occurs 7 times and by gematria is 153, and the expression
“joint-heirs” (Romans 8.17) is 1071, which is a factor of 7 times 153. The expression “the creation of
God” by gematria is 1224, which is a factor of 8 times 153. Within the miracle of the 153 fish, the word
for “fishes” is by gematria 1224, which is a factor of 8 times 153, and the word for “the net” is 1224,
again the factor of 8 times 153. Then on page 276, he writes: “Quite a new thought has recently been
given by Lieut.-Col, F. Roberts, who finds that amongst the multitudes who received direct blessing from
Christ there are recorded exactly 153 individual cases.”
To add to this, keep in mind that the numbers 7 and 8 , which appear as factors in the above numeric
values, refer to completeness or spiritual perfection , and new birth or new beginning , respectively.
There is an obvious thread that is woven through all the above meanings that is best summed up in the
expression “the sons of God,” which speaks of those who will be counted worthy to reign with Christ in
His coming kingdom. Some people believe that 153 fish refers to the salvation of the lost since a net was
cast, but this cannot be the meaning. The casting of the net is something beyond initial salvation. It is a
gathering of the called and chosen of Christ, the elect company that will rise from among the dead in the
first or out-resurrection and be transfigured along with the chosen and faithful in Christ that are alive
when Christ snatches away His conquerors to meet Him in air. In that day, the Son of God Himself will
cast the net to gather together His prized possession that will reign on earth and among the celestials as
a kingdom and priests for 1,000 years (Revelation 5.10; 20.6). They are the joint heirs with Christ, the
many sons brought to glory (Hebrews 2.10), the sons of God , or the sons of the resurrection (Luke
But there is more, for within the text of John 20.19-21.17, I believe there is a hint that the number 153 is
representative of all that will experience the tabernacles at the coming of the Lord. It may even give a
hint of the timing of events. According to Leviticus 23.33-43, we know that the first day of the month of
Tishri is the beginning of the fall feasts , starting with the Feast of Trumpets (day 1), followed by the
Day of Atonement (day 10), followed by the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles (days 15-21), and
concluding with the great day , the eighth day (day 22). By comparing this to John’s text, we discover
that after His resurrection on the first day of the week, the Lord privately appeared to His disciples and
breathed on them so that they received the Holy Spirit, which empowered them to go forth with the good
news of His kingdom. Then eight days later, Jesus appeared to them again in the same fashion in order
to convince Thomas. Actually, it could be said that Jesus taught Thomas. But what is significant in this
encounter is that Jesus proclaimed: “Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” Carrying
the story forward, we discover seven disciples fishing because they did not know what else to do. Then,
Jesus gathered 153 fish in a net and fed His disciples , and then sent them forth, especially Peter who
was commanded to tend the lambs and to shepherd and tend the sheep.
Perhaps this is the pattern of what will transpire some year in the month of Tishri as the Lord appears to
His people and sends them forth to the nations to establish His kingdom on earth. On the first day of the
month, He will resurrect His chosen and faithful ones just as He, the Faithful One, was resurrected. On
the first day of tabernacles, He will appear to His chosen and faithful ones to breathe the full measure of
the Holy Spirit on them. In John 7, Jesus went up to the feast midweek and taught in the temple. If Jesus
breathes the full measure of the Spirit into His disciples on the first day of tabernacles, perhaps He will
appear again to His body, which at this point will be the fullness of the dwelling of God in spirit, the
temple of God, to teach them, that is, to write His laws on their hearts (Hebrews 8.10). Thomas had to
see, but all will need to know. Then, on the eighth day or the last day, the great day of the feast (John
7.37), He will appear once again to His chosen and faithful to bestow His blessing on all of them, for they
had trusted Him, walking by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5.7). In that day, from their innermost
being will flow rivers of living water , which speaks of the full measure of the spirit of God flowing forth
from their lives since they will be spiritual in the full sense (John 7.38). The world will begin to see the
Christ in His body of conquering believers, the manifested sons of God, the new creation in Christ. They
will enter into the feast of the Lambkin for 1,000 years, and, as they do, they will feed the multitude of the
nations. Glory will begin to fill the whole earth. Do you see the glory in the number 153? It speaks
mightily of the sons of God who will be manifested soon. Praise God!
The Upward Call #02-08153 by — Stuart H. Pouliot