Fishers of men
from the HILLS OF SUMARIA
by Denny and JoAnna Meyer | January 18, 2005
The weeks are flying by for us here. We continue to be amazed as we travel over and to areas that we have heard about since ‘Sunday School’ 50 years ago.
Our transition into the new year was different. About the only celebration we have encountered the past two weeks is the celebrating the Russians do at the New Year. It is almost like Christmas with decorated trees and Santa Claus. Since almost 60 percent of the population of Ariel is Russian we did see a few decorations around the area. The quietness of the season did make it more important to celebrate JoAnna’s birthday this past week. We decided it was time to go to the Sea of Galilee, or as it is called here, the Knerret.
Also, another of the volunteers returned to Ariel this week. Diane Cudo, originally from Princeton, Minnesota, came back after being back in Minnesota for two months. With her return, JoAnna, Diane, Beverly Estes (Kansas) and myself have spent many hours talking about how God has brought us all to ‘the Land’ here at this time and the circumstances as to how that has happened. We are all truly amazed and blessed to be here at this time.
Many times our discussions have been on Bible prophecy and how the events we see happening before our eyes line up with what we believe the Bible teaches us about these days.
We all believe that God is still in covenant with the Jew just as He is with the believer. We don’t believe that the Church has replaced Israel, but rather that there is a ‘joining’ together. This is not something that we can accomplish by our plans and schemes, but only by Abba. His Son has torn down the walls that divide. Too often we choose to put walls of our own construction back up.
It was in this light that the four of us were talking about the 21st chapter of John, where Jesus appears to the disciples on the shore of Galilee. There are two similar accounts revealed to us in Scripture. The first is when Jesus calls his disciples. He finds a group fishing on the Knerret. They have caught nothing. He tells them to put their nets on the other side. They have a great catch. They follow him. John and Peter were of this group.
In the account in John 21, a similiar event happens involving much the same people. The difference is that this is 31/2 years later, after Jesus has been crucified and resurrected. Again, the fishermen have been fishing all night with no success. Jesus tells them to put their nets on the other side and again they have a great catch. John recognizes that it is the Lord and Peter jumps in the sea to pull in the catch. In this instance the number of fish is actually recorded, 153.
All numbers in Scripture have significance. There are many publications that seek to provide insight as to what a particular number might mean. Doing a little googlelyzing (I may have just made up a word) on the computer will bring forth a variety of choices for discovering those meanings. The number 153 is only used once in all of Scripture. Most interpretations tell us that the number 153 is symbolic of revival or ingathering, specifically the great harvest that is to take place at the end of this (Church) age.
The first account when Jesus called His disciples speaks of the first harvest, or former rain, or the time since the Church was birthed at Pentecost, and the second account speaks of the ‘great harvest’, or latter rain, about which many in the Body have been praying for and making predictions about for cenuries.
At first glance the number 153 is a mystery. Why were there 153 fish in the net? Why would anyone record that number in the first place? Most of us would have rounded it to 150 or about 150.
Theories have abounded including one that said when the number of nations in the world reached 153 we would see the return of the Messiah and the harvest that would happen. I don’t think that happened.
A number of years ago we discovered some interesting truths concerning the number 153 and to how it is maybe the most unique number of them all. There are two mathematical principles that can be applied to this number that help to illustrate its uniqueness. First is the power principle, or multiplying a number by itself any number of times. Multiply a number by itself 5 times and you have taken that number to the fifth power. In this instance we wish to take each digit in 153 and take them to the third power (God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost).
When you take 1 to the third power you get one. Take 5 to the third power and you get 125. Take 3 to the third power and you get 27. Add those numbers together and you discover a second principle, called the resurrection principle. 153 is the only number in all the numbers infinitum, that when taken to the third power in such a fashion, resurrects itself.
Another interesting discovery is that every number divisible by 3 will ultimately end up at 153. I suggest reading the 12th, 13th, and 14th chapters of Zechariah, especially Zech. 13:8,9.
There are some other interesting facts concerning the number 153, and whether you think they are significant or not, or have any special endtime meaning, it still speaks volumes to me that centuries ago this number would be placed in such an important spot in Scripture.
It was with the discussion of this scriptural account and the number 153 fresh in our minds that we went to Tiberias on the Sea of Galilee. We spent the night and the next morning went for a walk along the shore. The hotel in which we were staying had a beautiful walkway above the sea. We did not walk long when we came upon two fishermen in their boat, pulling in their morning catch. We asked them what they were catching. “St. Peter’s fish,” was their reply.
They had a large number in the boat. It looked to me like 153.
This article first appeared in the January 18, 2005 issue of the Voyageur Press.