Ever had a lightbulb moment? I asked the Lord about the meaning of the 153 fish in John 21:10, and I was given a maths answer. Amazingly I grasped the explanation. Having to learn statistics in order to get my Diploma of Business helped.
I had to overcome a lot to learn the math behind statistics. I’d failed at maths at school, I had a lot of painful memories from the classroom.
As a child in a crucial year before high school, I had a teacher who wrote the equations on the board without me being able to see. All I could see was his back, and he wouldn’t let me move. This went on for a whole year. After getting him again the following year, it was game over as far as maths was concerned. I learned nothing.
I didn’t have the internet where I could have taught myself from helpful websites. I couldn’t even take my maths book home. I didn’t have parents or older siblings to help me. “She can’t learn,” my mother was told.
In order to learn the subject, I had to overcome the teacher’s curse, the bad memories, and my loathing for maths. Fortunately I have a very patient husband who helped me with the mechanics of maths in statistics.
But I kept complaining to God. “Why do I have to learn this?” I protested, “we’re never going to use it in our business!”
“Make friends with maths” the Lord told me. Not reconcile myself to maths, not become acquainted with maths; He wanted me to believe I could learn maths and take an interest in it! It was a big ask.
In Proverbs 4, a Father’s instruction, He said; “Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding.” Proverbs 4:7.
I never did use statistics in my business. But let me show you what I did learn. The first things I learned in statistics were Factorial numbers and Venn diagrams. These form the basis of the wonderful things God showed me later. I am going to explain some cryptic but important signs and numbers contained in the Bible.
I’ll put the maths down at the bottom of the post.
The miraculous catch of fish was the last miracle Jesus ever performed. 153 fish were caught. John 21
When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.” So Simon Peter climbed back into the boat and dragged the net ashore. It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn. John 21:10
153 is an odd number. What did Jesus mean by 153 fish?
153 is a triangular number.
A triangular number is where the sum of a given number forms an equilateral triangle.
153 means people.
153 adds from 1 to 17: 153 = 1 + 2 + 3 + 4+ 5+ 6 + 7 + 8 + 9 + 10 + 11 + 12 +13 + 14 + 15 + 16 + 17.
17 means nations.
17 is the number of nations present at Pentecost.
Five factorial, or 5! is 120. It’s expressed as this, 5! = 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1.
120 means the church, which started off with 120 believers in Jerusalem, “In those days Peter stood up among the believers (a group numbering about a hundred and twenty) …” Acts 1:15
The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:47.
Each one teach one.
So now you know the meaning of the 153 fish. The first disciples Jesus called were fishermen. He said to Simon Peter and Andrew, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Matthew 4:18-21
The Vessel of Fish
Imagine two circles, where God is in one circle, and people are in another. Now join the two circles so they overlap.
I’m going to use the two circles of the Vesica Piscis, which literally translates as the “Vessel of Fish.”
In this “Vessel of Fish,” we have two circles, where one represents God and the other man. Jesus is in the overlapping area as the intersection of God and Man. That’s why he called Himself both “The Son of God” and “The Son of Man.”
Any person who comes to God through Christ is “in Christ.”
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8:1
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:17.
153 represents the width of the Vesica Piscis, the Vessel of Fish. Archimedes, a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer worked that out.
The mathematical ratio of the height of the Vessel of Fish (the Vesica Piscis) to the width (153) across its center is the square root of 3, or 1.732.
So we’ve got the square root of three, the number three representing God in the form of the Trinity, and 153 representing the catch of fish and the Vessel of Fish.
Also interesting is that 1.732 is used in measuring power. In electrical engineering, wattage = voltage x amp x power factor x 1.732. It reminds me of Christ being referred to as “the power and the wisdom of God” in 1 Corinthians 1:22-24.
Another interesting square root is that of 153. The square root of √ 153 is 12.369, the amount of full moons in one year.
Signs and symbols
Just as the moon can hide itself, in Isaiah 8 the Lord spoke of hiding his face from Israel and binding up his testimony among the disciples. The fish and the number 153 are for signs and symbols. “Here am I, and the children the LORD has given me. We are signs and symbols in Israel from the LORD Almighty, who dwells on Mount Zion.” Isaiah 8:11-18.
The sign of Jonah
Do you understand now what Jesus meant when he gave the Teachers of the Law the Sign of Jonah? He was in the vessel of the fish for three days and nights.
The Scribes and Pharisees Ask for a Sign
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Matthew 12:38-42.
The Greek word for fish is “ichthys.” Christian used the icthys symbol which incorporates the Vesica Piscis shape to identify themselves. As early as the first century, Christians made an acrostic from this word: Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter, i.e. Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior.
No symbol means the same thing to all people at all times. Greeks, Romans, and many other pagans used the fish symbol before Christians. Probably because it was in the constellation of Pisces.
Hence the fish, unlike, say, the cross, attracted little suspicion, making it a perfect secret symbol for persecuted believers. When threatened by Romans in the first centuries after Christ, Christians used the fish mark meeting places and tombs, or to distinguish friends from foes.
Thanks for reading this. I hope I’ve explained the maths, the signs and the symbols clearly. Hopefully it will satisfy both the Jews and the Greeks.
Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Corintians 1:22-24
Christian symbol on a paving stone at the Temple of Apollo, Didim, Turkey. Note the fishing net.
After writing about the signs God used with fish, I came across this. Is the Lord still using fish for signs? Why wouldn’t he? Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8
Factorial is the product of all positive integers less than or equal to the number you start with. You put a ! after it to show its factorial. So here’s an example, starting off with the number five.
5! is 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 = 120,
4! is 4 x 3 x 2 x 1 = 24,
3! is 3 x 2 x 1 = 6,
2! is 2 x 1 = 2,
1! is 1 x 1 = 1
So five factorial is 120, expressed as this, 5! = 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1.
The sum of five factorial, 5! + 4! + 3! + 2! + 1! is 153.
In a Venn diagram, two circles are joined, with an overlapping area representing a set. The region in both circles, where the two sets overlap, is called the intersection.
Archimedes work “On the Measurement of the Circle.”
Archimedes, a Greek mathematician, physicist, engineer, inventor, and astronomer applied the square root of three (√3) to the number 265 divided by 153 in his ratios for the Measurement of the Circle. It is not known how he determined this.
Source: Archimedes and the Square Root of Three
Archimedes used these ratios as upper and lower bounds ‘On the Measurement of the Circle.’
So if you make the intersection of two circles a height of 265, the width will equal 153. The mathematical ratio of the height of the Vesica Piscis to the width across its center is the square root of 3, or 1.732.
The square root
In mathematics, a square root of a number a is a number y such that y2 = a; in other words, a number y whose square (the result of multiplying the number by itself, or y⋅y) is a. For example, 4 and −4 are square roots of 16 because 42 = (−4)2 = 16.
What are my qualifications to back this up? I’ve been reading the Bible for 25 years, I am a member of the Body of Christ with a teaching gift, and I am a child of God. I should also mention I passed University level Statistics!
God indeed chooses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; He chooses the weak things of the world to shame the strong. (1 Corinthians 1:27-29)
I’ve also blogged about it from a different perspective on my other blog ‘Red Sky in the Morning,’ Go fish.
Related post about my struggle with statistics: The wall
Archimedes and the Square Root of Three
Meaning of Numbers in the Bible The Number 120
Fundamentals of Electricity – Watt’s Law – Three Phase