John 21:3-11:

3 Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

4 But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.

5 Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.

6 And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.

7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher’s coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.

8 And the other disciples came in a little ship; (for they were not far from land, but as it were two hundred cubits,) dragging the net with fishes.

9 As soon then as they were come to land, they saw a fire of coals there, and fish laid thereon, and bread.

10 Jesus saith unto them, Bring of the fish which ye have now caught.

11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.

What is the significance of the 153 fish mentioned in John 21:11? Why is the exact number given? Is there a significance in the number 153? What does the Authorized KJV teach about the significance of numbers?

I believe numbers sometimes have symbolic meanings, not only in Revelation, but throughout scripture as well. For example: In Matt. 18:22, Jesus tells Peter to forgive someone 70 times 7 times. We know this does not mean that we are to keep count and quit forgiving at 490 times. It means we are to keep on forgiving no matter how many times it may take. In olden times numbers were used symbolically. We still do this today. For instance the number 13 immediately brings to mind things of superstition or bad luck. To those people the number 7 symbolically represented divine or spiritual completeness. The number 10 represented human completeness. If someone has all their fingers and toes intact, they are complete. In the OT there were 10 plagues. Those were literal, physical plagues sent against Egypt. In Revelation there are 7 plagues. Those are spiritual plagues, or plagues that affect the spiritual life of man. With that in mind the numbers 70 times 7 uses the 7 for spiritual completeness and 10 for human completeness to show that we are to practice complete forgiveness. We should never cease to forgive. Concerning the number 153. Believe it or not, this has to do with the symbolic use of the number 3 in scripture. Three is the number which is used to represent things which are "spiritual" in nature. That is in contrast to the number 4 which represents things which are "physical" in nature. For example there are 4 directions on this earth. We speak of the 4 corners of the earth even though it is round. The children of Israel wandered in the wilderness 40 years. 4 = physical and 10 = complete. 4x10 = 40. It was a complete physical trial for those people. The same with Jesus as he fasted 40 days. It was a complete physical trial for Him. He was then tempted 3 times to see if he would succumb "spiritually" to the temptations of the Devil. So, the number 3 has to do with the spiritual nature of Jesus. Think of all the events in the life of Christ which took place in series of 3's or dealt with the number 3 in some way. Here are just a few to illustrate:

- Godhead composed of 3 beings

- Jesus rose from the grave the 3rd day

- He prayed 3 times in the garden

- Crucified the 3rd hour of the day

- 3 hours of darkness - from the 6th hour of the day to the 9th hour

- On the cross 6 hours - 2x3

- Died the ninth hour of the day - 3x3

- 3 men were crucified

- Jesus lived about 33 years, some say 33 1/3

- His ministry was approximately 3 years in length

And many more, you fill in the rest.

This should be enough to illustrate that many things in the life of Jesus took place in series of 3's or dealt some way with the number 3.

Now the number 153 is an interesting number in several ways, some of which deal with the number 3. Now remember in all of this that the number 3 is closely associate with the life of Christ and represent things of a spiritual nature. Mathematicians are interested in numbers and not Scripture. I'm interested in Scripture and how the mathematics fit in.

Add the digits of 153: 1+5+3= 9 which is the number of grace in the NT, which is 3x3 or 3 sets of 3.

In olden times people dealt with numbers somewhat differently than we do today. 153 is what was called a "triangular" number. They formed shapes or patterns by arranging dots to represent the number. To be a triangular number, the pattern of dots would form a triangle with the same number of dots on each side of the triangle. The number 3 would be the first triangular number, 2 dots below 1 dot. Add another row of 3 dots below the 2 dots and you have the next triangular number 6. The number 153 is the sixteenth triangular number. It would have 17 dots on each side of the triangle. When you have about 3 hours of spare time, try drawing that. So, the number 153 can be expressed as a triangle which, obviously, has 3 sides and is therefore closely associated with the number 3.

Next: If you sum the cube of the digits in 153, you always get 153. There are only about four known numbers in the entire numbering system in which the sum of the cube of the digits of that number will yield the original number. The number 153 is the only one divisible by 3. In order to do this you simply multiplying each digit by itself three times and then add the results. Notice, again, the use of the number 3. In order to make things simple, I'll just represent the cube of a digit in this manner (1x1x1). Ok, we take the sum of the cube of the digits of 153: (1x1x1) + (5x5x5) + (3x3x3) = 153 or 1 + 125 + 27 = 153. Again the number 153 has extraordinary properties dealing with the number 3.

The number 153 can be found in any "third" number in the entire numbering system. Take any 3rd number 3,6,9,12,15,18 etc or any number divisible by 3, and do the same thing as we did above, find the sum of the cube of the digits. You will have to repeat the calculation several times, but the final answer to these calculations will always be 153. I'll do a simple one:

Lets take the number 27:

(2x2x2) + (7x7x7) = 8 + 343 = 351 (now take that answer (351) and do the calculation again) 351 (3x3x3) + (5x5x5) + (1x1x1) = 27 + 125 + 1 = 153

(The final answer will always be 153).

Obviously, for some numbers this calculation might have to be repeated many, many times, but the final answer will always be 153.

Now lets put all of this together. The number 3 is symbolic of spiritual things. Many of the events in the life of Christ took place in series of 3's. So, when the disciples went fishing, they obeying Jesus caught (153) fish which can be found in any third number in the entire numbering system. What an appropriate number of fish to catch. Was this an accident? I seriously doubt it. But, the number was recorded for a reason and this explanation follows precisely what we know about the Authorized KJV and the use of numbers. I'll let you decide what you think.