an hundred and fifty and three

John 21:11

21:11 an hundred and fifty and three. The reason why the disciples were careful to count, and John to record, the number of fishes brought to shore must again involve symbolism, as there seems no other reason for it. It has been calculated that there were 153 distinct nations in the world at the time of Christ (the number is not much different at present); these were represented at Pentecost by seventeen ethnic groups (see Acts 2:8-11), when the disciples first began to carry out the Commission, preaching to the world in microcosm, as it were. The number 17 is also symbolic: when all the numbers are added up through 17 (that is, 1+2+3+...+16+17), they add to 153. Furthermore, the digits in 153 (i.e., 1+5+3) add to 9, which when multiplied by 17, again makes 153. It is also interesting that there are three digits in the number, and if each is multiplied by itself three times, then the total once again adds to 153. That is: (1 x 1 x 1) + (5 x 5 x 5) + (3 x 3 x 3) = 153. There seems no other number that could possibly be more appropriate to represent all the peoples of the world than this number, and it is surely more than coincidence (in fact, providential) that the Creator saw to it that exactly 153 great fishes entered the “gospel net.”

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