The same Divine character is stamped upon this miracle and its lessons by the disciples who were present when it was wrought. There were seven. And the seven is divided into 3 and 4 as usual - 3 being named, and 4 unnamed. We may condense all this by calling 153 simply the number of the sons of God.
The number 153 and the sons of God
The expression Beni Ha-Elohim, "Sons of God," occurs seven times! Now the Gematria (substituting numbers for letters) of this expression is exactly 153. In Greek, the expression exhibits in another form the same phenomena, the gematria being 3213, or 3 x 7 x 153.
It is very remarkable, in connection with this, that in Job 2:1 we have "Beni-ha Elohim with Satan among them. " The gematria of this phrase is 1989, and the two factors of this number are 153 and 13 (13x153=1989).
The word sunkleeronomoi, "joint-heirs" (Romans 8:17), amounts to 1071, the factors of which are 153 and 7 (153x7=1071).
The expression sunkleeronomoi de Christou, "joint heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:17), amounts to 2751. Now the factors of 153, as we have seen, are 9 and 17, and the number 2751 is three times the nine hundred, plus seventeen, viz., 3 x (900 + 17) = 2751.
In the record of the miracle of the 153 fishes itself there are some remarkable phenomena:
The Greek word for "fishes" is by gematria 1224, or 8 x 153.
The words for "the net" and by gematria this also amounts to 1224, or 8 x 153, for it is unbroken, and carries the precious freight from "the right side" of the ship safely to the shore, and "not one is lost."
Quite a new thought has recently been given which states that amongst the multitudes who received direct blessing from Christ there are recorded exactly 153 special individual cases! We append his list, with one or two alterations: and if any names appear to be missing, it will be found on examination that there is good reason for omitting them; e.g., Nathanael is the same as Bartholomew; while Matthias, and Barsabas (Acts 1:23), Joses, Barnabas (Acts 4:36), Stephen, though they with many others may have received blessing from Jesus Himself, and probably did, yet it is not so stated. Of course Zacharias, Elisabeth, John the Baptist, Joseph, Simeon, and Anna, are not included, as they were all in blessing before the birth of Jesus.
A DIRECT blessing from Jesus
The following is a list of those who received a direct blessing from Jesus. The number in parenthesis is how many individuals were blessed.
- The leper, Matthew 8:2 (1)
- Centurion and servant, Matthew 8:5 (2)
- Peter's wife's mother, Matthew 8:14 (1)
- Two possessed with devils, Matthew 8:18 (2)
- Palsied man and bearers [Mark 2:3], Matthew 9:2 (5)
- Jairus and his daughter, Matthew 9:18 (2)
- Woman with issue of blood, Matthew 9:21 (1)
- Blind men, Matthew 9:27 (2)
- Dumb man, Matthew 9:32 (1)
- Eleven Apostles, Matthew 10:2 (11)
- Man with withered hand, Matthew 12:10 (1)
- Blind and dumb devil, Matthew 12:22 (1)
- Brethren of the Lord [Acts 1:14] Matthew 13:55 (4)
- Syrophoenician woman and daughter, Matthew 15:22 (2)
- Lunatic child and father, Matthew 17:14 (2)
- Blind men (leaving Jericho),* Matthew 20:30 (2)
- Simon the leper, Matthew 26:6 (1)
- Mary (sister of Lazarus. See Nos 32 and 47), Matthew 26:7 (1)
- Centurion; Matthew 27:54 (1)
- Salome (mother of Zebedee's children), Matthew 27:56 (1)
- Mary (mother of James, and wife of Cleopas), Matthew 27:56 (1)
- Mary Magdalene, Matthew 27:56 (1)
- Joseph of Arimathaea, Matthew 27:57 (1)
- Man with unclean spirit; Mark 1:23 (1)
- Man, deaf and dumb, Mark 7:32 (1)
- Blind man, Mark 8:22 (1)
- Son of the widow of Nain, Luke 7:12 (1)
- A woman, a sinner, Luke 7:37 (1)
- Joanna and Susanna, Luke 8:3 (2)
- A disciple - "follow Me", Luke 9:59 (1)
- The seventy disciples, Luke 10:1 (70)
- Martha, Luke 10:38 (1)
- Woman with infirmity, Luke 13:11 (1)
- Man with dropsy, Luke 14:2 (1)
- The ten lepers, Luke 17:12 (10)
- The blind man (approaching Jericho),** Luke 18:35 (1)
- Zaccheus, Luke 19:2 (1)
- Malchus [John 18:10], Luke 22:51 (1)
- Penitent thief, Luke 23:43 (1)
- The two disciples at Emmaus, Luke 24:13 (2)
- Nicodemus, John 3:1 (1)
- Woman of Samaria, John 4:4 (1)
- Nobleman and sick son, John 4:46 (2)
- Impotent man (Bethesda), John 5:1 (1)
- Woman taken in adultery, John 8:11 (1)
- Man born blind, John 9 (1)
- Lazarus, John 11 (1)
- Mary, mother of Jesus, John 19:25 (1) = (153)
We give the above not as an alternative solution, but as an additional illustration, believing that all may be true; and at any rate, that all contribute to, and increase the cumulative evidence in support of the same great and blessed fact, that it is true of the Lord's people as it is of the stars, "He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. " (Psalm 147:4). The book of Exodus is the book in which we first hear of redemption (Exodus 15:14), and the Hebrew and divinely canonical name for this book is "the names," because His people are redeemed by name!
This is the lesson of the 153 great fishes.