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Why 153 Fish in
John 21:11 ?
Church Fathers : Sts. Jerome, Augustine, Gregory the Great, Cyril A.
No Reason ?
Why Church Fathersí Answers Could Not Be Johnís
Problems with Square Root of 3 Answer
Context Points to the Answer : An Explanation That Works
Archimedes : Context of Time and Place
Greeks and Wisdom
Calculating the Measure of the Fish
Why Church Fathers Did Not (could not?) Give Johnís Idea
The Church Fathers attached the following meanings
the Johnís reference to 153 fish.
Jerome wrote that Oppian's Halieutica lists 153
types of fish. The point seems to be that this total of 153
represents all the nations from which God will gather the fish,
symbolizing that believers will be gathered from all the nations in the world into the net of the
(Jerome, commentary on Ezekiel 47:6-12 (book 14, chapter 47), Migne, PL
was commenting on
ďÖ 9 Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can
multiply shall live, and there shall be abundant fish, for wherever this
water comes the sea shall be made fresh. Fishermen shall be standing
along it from En-gedi to En-eglaim,
spreading their nets there. Its kinds of fish shall be like those of the
Great Sea, very numerous.Ē
The numerical value for the word
gedi = 17. (10 = ג = 3; ד = 4; י )
eglaim = 153. (= ע 70 ; ג = 3; ל = 30 ; י = 10 ; מ = 40 )
Coincidentally, the Hebrew word gedi (גדי) is the 153rd
word of Ezekiel 47.
with St. Jeromeís Idea
ď ... but the
definite number of a 153; and of the reason of this number we must
now, with the Lordís help, give some account.Ē
1 + 2 + 3 Ö + 17 = 153
17 represents the combination of divine grace (the
7 gifts of the Spirit) and law (the 10 Commandments.) And since
153 is the 17th triangular number 153 represents, according
to St. Augustine, all those who will be saved and or the covenants by
which they are saved (?)
7 x 7 + 1 = 50 .... 50 x 3 = 150
.... 150 + 3 = 153
7 represents the number of disciples in the boat
(John 21:2), as well as the gifts of the Holy Spirit.
So, 7 x 7 = 49 plus 1 for unity makes the perfection of 50.
50 x 3 (for faith founded in the Trinity) = 150
150 + 3 (for the trinity) = 153.
So, the 153 fish signify the fullness of the Church
in Peters boat (7), filled with the Holy Spirit (7), perfected by adding
( +1 =50) in her faith (3) in the most holy Trinity (3).
St Augustine, Tractate 122 (John 20:30-21:11), section 8
St. Gregory the Great
(10 + 7) x 3 x 3 = 153
St. Gregory the Great says: 10 and 7 are perfect numbers, which
added together make 17. This, times 3, for the perfection of faith in
the Trinity, makes 51. This, times 3 again, makes 153.
153 = 100 + 28 + 25, with
100 a square number,
28 a triangular number and
25 a circular number.
A circular number is a number whose square ďendsĒ in the same digits as
the number itself.
St. Cyril of
100 + 50 + 3 = 153
St. Cyril breaks 153 into 100 (the great number of
gentiles to be saved), plus 50 (the smaller number of Jews to be saved),
plus 3 (the Trinity who saves all). Book
153 : More
The Church Fathers made use of the mathematical qualities above,
and more details of the mathematical qualities of the number 153
are listed in this page here. However, as will be
explained in the page below, I do not believe that John had
intended or used any mathematical quality or formula.
Johnís use of the number 153 was just a simple allegory.
Context explains Johnís meaning as will
be explained in the pages