Pi Day of March 14th, 2022 The Miracle of 153 fish and Pi.
Happy Pi Day Everyone!
On this Pi Day of March 14th, 2022 as on previous Pi Days we have recognized various ways that the Pi ratio is found in the Bible. This year our focus is on the miracles of the fish-the catch of 153 fish.
There are two miracles of Jesus regarding his apostles Peter, James and John in their fishing business, one in Luke 5 and the second in John 1. In Luke, Jesus had been teaching on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and decided to use Peter’s boat as a platform to teach the crowd out of the boat. Upon wrapping up his teaching, he instructed Peter to put out into deep water and let down the nets for a catch. Peter tells Jesus of their previous night of fishing without catching anything, but; “at the Lord’s word he would let down the net; [sing.]. Peter had the fresh memory of their fruitless night of labor too much in mind, and if Peter had followed Jesus’ word he could have saved his net, which broke at the weight of the huge catch. With the help of another boat of their partner’s they filled both boats with the catch, till they began to sink. Peter considered himself unworthy to continue with the Lord, but Jesus, remaining with his choice of Peter, James and John, told them to fear not, as going forward they would catch men, upon which the apostles left everything to follow Jesus.
In the second Miracle of the fish, Jesus was not in the boat with the apostles, but was on land as this was a resurrection appearance of the Lord. Present here were Peter, “doubting Thomas,” Nathanael of Cana, John, James, and two other disciples, one of which was Lazarus-the disciple that Jesus loved, as part of this “fishing expedition” with Peter, where again they caught nothing. As they approached the shore, an as yet unidentified Jesus, asked them if they had any meat. Upon a negative reply, he told the fishing party to cast the net [sing.] on the right side of the boat for a find. As they did so they found such a multitude of fish they were unable to draw the net in. Once Jesus was identified by Lazarus, Peter jumped into the water to help bring the catch ashore, but upon their arrival ashore they found Jesus already there with a fire, fish and bread awaiting them. This fits the scene of a resurrection appearance, the 3rd of the Lord thus far-ready to teach the Apostles and Disciples about their unbroken net with a catch of 153 great fishes, perhaps foreshadowing the future Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
As we consider the use of 153 and the related number found in Jesus’ last miracle of the fish, it may be a good time to revisit our understanding of this Last Feast. Instead of a story of fishermen and fish, as there is always a deeper significance lying below the surface. Here we find an unexpected post-resurrection visit of the Lord that finds Peter–leader of the Church, fishing (John 21:7). As (Peter) pulls in the 153 fish to bring them to Jesus by his command, “Bring of the fish which you have now caught” (John 21:10), Jesus’ invited the fishing expedition to “come and dine” (John 21:12). This seems to parallel the last harvest of the Church body and the future wedding feast. After the feast of fishes with Jesus, He constrains Peter to feed his lambs and sheep, but to understand the deeper truths here we must look below the surface. As Jesus constrains Peter, he asks three similar but not identical questions; In John 21:15 the Lord asks Peter if he lovest [agapao] him more than these, in reference to Peter’s fishing business. The word for “lovest” here is God’s Love of man, which Jesus embodied more perfectly than any other, as unconditional and a result of the decision of the will. Peter responded- “Lord thou knowest that I love [Phileo] thee. This is a conditional brotherly love of a friend, and is not used of a love of men toward God. So we can see Peter’s response was amiss, in that he did not respond directly to the Lord’s Question, as it was asked. The Lord’s command was to Feed my Lambs -the sacrificial lambs of the flock.
In John 21:16 Jesus asks Peter again Lovest [agapao] thou me, to which Peter responds again; “Lord thou knowest that I love [phileo] thee, his response still amiss. Then the Lord commands that Peter “feed my sheep.” The word “feed” is poimaino [G4165], 1 which is much more than just feeding, but refers to the entire office of a Shepherd; including guiding, guarding, and folding the flock, as well as nourishing it, [Acts 20:28, ICor. 9:7, I Pet. 5:1-4]. In v. 17 the Lord turns the tables on Peter in his third question; “lovest thou me,” but this time the word for “love” is [phileo]. Peter’s response was Lord thou knowest [ginosko-G1097]2 that I love [Phileo] thee. Peter’s answers to Jesus’ questioning the basis of his love for the Lord, were all based on brotherly love, which he truly shared with Christ, but Jesus was trying to get him to see the bigger picture, of what it took to Pastor God’s Flock. This is a deeper understanding of what it means to Follow Jesus; [Matt. 4:18-22,25, Jon. 8:12, 10:2-18, 26 -29, 9: 21–29, 21:9-11, Mk. 8:34-38]. This is how Christ made his disciples fishers of men. Thus it appears that the 153 fishes may represent a harvest at the end of the age when Christ returns. The mystery here is what the specific number of 153 fish refers to?
The context of the miracles of the Fish pertains to Jesus calling his Apostles and disciples to follow him and to live after his example of living love, the unifying principle in the Church of his spiritual body. [Eph. 4:1-2]
Many believed that there must be something deeply significant and mysterious in this number from the solemn way it is introduced in Jn. 21:11: Simon Peter went and drew the net to land full of great fishes, one hundred and fifty three. A look at history reveals that the Church Fathers noted some interesting aspects in the number 153.
St. Augustine has pointed out the comparison and contrast between the two miraculous catches of fish, one at the beginning and the other at the end of Christ’s ministry (post– Resurrection). He and other scholars see in this number, a link with the “saved” who are “caught up” in Peter’s “net,” a symbol of the Church. Both St. Augustine and Pope St. Gregory the Great noticed that 17 is the sum of the perfect numbers 10 (perfect order) and 7 (spiritual perfection). St. Gregory multiplied 17 by 3 and again by 3 to get 153. Augustine used addition and took the sum of all the digits up to and including 17 as amounting to exactly 153. They also noted that the expression “Sons of God” occurs 7 times, and that the gematria of this expression in Hebrew is exactly 153. In Greek the gematria of “Sons of God” is 3,213 or 3 x 7 x 153. The Greek gematria for the word fishes is 1,224 or 8 x 153. The gematria for “the net“ is also 1,224 or 8 x 153. 4
In ancient Greece, Pythagoras calculated that 153 is the denominator of the closest known fraction to the square root of 3 [265/153] which was also the “ratio of the fish” shape drawn between two overlapping circles, centered on each other’s circumference, that Pythagoras called the “measure of the fish.”5
As far as the relationship between 153 and Pi is concerned; The number 153 appears once within the first thousand digits of π, and not at all within the first 1000 digits of 2π. No surprises here. But when we check 3π, a triangular number, we find surprising results, that 153 appears 6 times within the first 1000 digits of 3π. The odds of a 3 digit number appearing six or more times within 1000 random digits are about 1 in 1680. The Number 153 is special:
- 153 is the 17th triangular number
- the 153rd word in the Hebrew Bible is “good” (טוב) which has a gematria value of 17
- the first appearance of 153 in 3π begins at position 17 after the decimal point
The six appearances of 153 in 3π begin at positions 17, 123, 443, 596, 645 and 888 after the decimal point.
the sixth appearance of 153 begins at position 888 after the decimal point
888 is the gematria value of ιησους (“Jesus“) 6.
If we construct a triangle with 17 units per side it will result in the number 153. Methuselah (his death shall bring) was 969 years old when the Flood came on the 17th day of the second month. Jesus also was resurrected on the 17th day, which was also the same day the Ark came to rest on the mountains and Israel crossed the Red Sea. Does the related fish number of 153 embody a link to the coming of the second judgment [the last days will be like the days of Noah] like the Flood? 7
The miraculous catch of 153 has been depicted many times in art, and the boat on the water can be depicted as an 18 piece jigsaw featuring familiar triangular numbers 153, 666, and 703. The triangular number 5778 is the 18th Lucas number [a number series like Phi, but including 153] the golden ratio raised to the 18th power. In the pi string below 2 instances of the triangular number 5778 are separated by the number 18; [3.14159…5778…7519577818577805321…]8 The Fibonacci and Lucas number series are both reflections of the Golden Section, being both additive, since each number is the sum of the previous two in the series, and the product of the previous term, multiplied by phi. No other number series’ display these traits of geometric growth fusing both addition and multiplication. This is part of the lesson in the geometric growth of the Church in the book of Acts.
There is also a general agreement between the geometric increase of growth via the Fibonacci Series and the summarizing and concluding statements of the Book of Acts, that start with addition and geometrically increase in scale to multiplication, at higher levels. The “Grk. word Auxano,” is the root for “auxins” found in 3 of the Acts summary statements; [Acts 6:7, 12:24, 19:20, Eph. 4:16]. We see this in how 1st Century Churches grew and were added in key areas, [Acts 9:31–multiplied, 16:5, established in the faith, increased in number daily. The principles of Plant DNA-auxins depicting the spiritual life and growth of the Acts 1st Century Church are witnessed in the gradual, progressive and systematic growth from the simple to the complex.
Along with 153, the number 276 is another large number mentioned in the Bible, in Acts 27:37 referencing the the number saved from shipwreck. The number of the beast-666, also belongs in this category mentioned above in Revelation 13:18. All three of these are triangular numbers. Like 153, 276, 666, 5778 is also hexagonal. 5778 is one of only three 4 digit numbers to appear three times within the 1st 1000 digits of pi, as seen in the pi string above. With the first three of these numbers being triangular; 153, 276 and 5778 are also hexagonal. All hexagonal numbers are triangular, but not all triangular numbers are hexagonal.
A consequence of geometric growth is that as growth advances, it becomes more complex, as these numbers illustrate with more basic growth, being triangular advancing to a complex hexagonal structure, as seen below.
The number 153 is found overtly twice in our bibles—John 21.11 & 2 Chron. In 2 Chron. 2.17, Solomon numbered all the strangers that were in the land of Israel, after the number David his father had numbered them and found 153,600.
Solomon had commissioned a great building project. He starts building the Temple to transition beyond the Tabernacle, conscripting 153k [+] men to begin work on the Temple called “Name of the Lord” (I Ch 2.1-2, 17-18). In like fashion, Jesus the risen Christ in “Name of the Lord,” commissioned the Apostles to start the greatest building project; the Church. He is the Chief Cornerstone enabling in this symbolic catch of 153 large fish by his apostles, parallel to the conscription of 153,000 [+] by Solomon, in this unique catch.
Astronomically, the square root of 153 = 12,369 which is equal to the number of lunar months in a solar year. According to T. Paine, who studied the dimensions of the Tabernacle first suggested an endwise union of either set of Tabernacle curtains from Josephus forward, depicts the internal Tabernacle measurements as 12 cubits wide, by 29.5 cubits long, versus the external measures of 12, 1/3 cubits wide by 30 cubits long. This represents an alternating lunar calendar of 29.5 and 30 lunar days in a month, a long-standing order in 360-day calendar years. The 12 cubit measure shows the 12 months of the solar year, while the 29.5 cubits embodies the lunar synodic month of 29.53059 days, or 29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, and 2.37 seconds. We see this also in the time between 2 full or New Moons as 29, 43/81 days, for the internal dimensions of the Tabernacle curtains. The Tabernacle’s external measures of 12, 1/3 cubits wide, by 30 cubits long, shows 12.368 synodic months per year, or 12, and 7/19‘s, by the 30 days of the solar month. 10
These truths are also evident in the comparison of the solar system planets to the design of the Temple and Tabernacle of Isreal. This displays the perfection of God’s design of the OT Tabernacle as the forerunner of the NT Temple in astronomical and calendar measures, and solar system structure relating 1st to Israel, and secondly to the spiritual body of Christ.
This new Temple in the Lord, is the greatest building project ever! Eph 2.19-22 “In him (Christ), the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling wherein God lives by his Spirit.” The catch of 153 fish is truly a miracle of Resurrection! As we answer Jesus’ call to; “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men,” we will be highly rewarded in eternity, contributing our part to this perfect union in the body of Christ, after the example of the Apostles.
1. Strong’s Concordance poimaino-G4165, James Strong.
2. Ibid, [ginosko-G1097].
3. Ibid, [agapao], [phileo]
4. “Pi And The Miraculous Catch of 153 Fish” [https://www.biblegematria.com/pi-and-the-bible.html]
5. “Do the 153 fish in John 21 count for anything?” Ian Paul May 3, 2019
7. “Pi And The Miraculous Catch of 153 Fish” [https://www.biblegematria.com/pi-and-the-bible.html]
10. “The Tabernacle of Isreal,” James Strong, p. 41
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