Gematria explains the Geometry behind the literal Bible story of the Miraculous Catch of 153 Fishes in the Unbroken Net and the diagram was earlier associated with the symbolism of Apollo at Delphi.
Apollo was an earlier Greek representation of the Logos. √2 (1.415)
The mathematical origin of the central Gematria values:
Mathematical Stage, Level of Being, Greek Symbolism, Christian Form
1 – The One, The Source, The Seed, The Father
1 x √2 = 1.415, Nous-Logos, The God Apollo, The Son (Logos)
1 x √2 x √3 = 2.448 The World Soul, The Net, The Sea, The Holy Spirit
Archimedes uses the whole number ratio 153:265 to approximate the irrational ration √3, “the measure of the fish”, or the vesica piscis.
FISHES = 1224
THE NET = 1224
153 = 1/8 of 1224
SIMON PETER = 1925
Circumference = 1925
Diameter = 1224
THE FISHERS COAT = 1060
Width of Vesica = 612
153 = sum of numbers 1-17
THE GOD APOLLO = 1415
1530 is the sum of DELPHI (619) and OMPHALOS (911)
Encompassing square = 7690
769 = PYTHOS
153 is the sum of the numbers 1 to 17, which is the number of fish that appeared in the story (one large and 16 small).
The height of a vesica pisces is the width multiplied by the square root of 3.
In the Hellenistic period, the ratio 256:153 was used as an approximation of the square root of 3.
If the number 153 represents the width of the vesica pisces of the net, we find the value 256 for the height of the vesica pisces of the net.
The result of the story is a representation of the three worlds in Greek cosmology.
- The eye in the sky is the imaginary world of eternal being.
- The world of man mediates between these two extremes, it represents the flower of life, a human being.
- The net in the sea is the sensible world of change and becoming.
This Bible story seems to draw a parallel between catching fishes and entering Heaven.
Could it be a reference to the dead of the Egyptian god Osiris, whose phallus was eaten by a fish?
Perhaps, catching men and making them into sons of God, is a way to retrieve the lost phallus of Osiris.
153 is a “triangular” number (in the Pythagorean sense), being the sum of the first 17 integers. It’s also the sum of the first five factorials. A slightly more obscure property of 153 is that it equals the sum of the cubes of its decimal digits. In fact, if we take ANY integer multiple of 3, and add up the cubes of its decimal digits, then take the result and sum the cubes of its digits, and so on, we invariably end up with 153. For example, since the number 4713 is a multiple of 3, we can reach 153 by iteratively summing the cubes of the digits, as follows:
starting number = 4713
4^3 + 7^3 + 1^3 + 3^3 = 435
4^3 + 3^3 + 5^3 = 216
2^3 + 1^3 + 6^3 = 225
2^3 + 2^3 + 5^3 = 141
1^3 + 4^3 + 1^3 = 66
6^3 + 6^3 = 432
4^3 + 3^3 + 2^3 = 99
9^3 + 9^3 = 1458
1^3 + 4^3 + 5^3 + 8^3 = 702
7^3 + 2^3 = 351
3^3 + 5^3 + 1^3 = 153 <—–
The fact that this works for any multiple of 3 is easy to prove. First, recall that any integer n is congruent modulo 3 to the sum of its decimal digits (because the base 10 is congruent to 1 modulo 3). Then, letting f(n) denote the sum of the cubes of the decimal digits of n, by Fermat’s little theorem it follows that f(n) is congruent to n modulo 3. Also, we can easily see that f(n) is less than n for all n greater than 1999. Hence, beginning with any multiple of 3, and iterating the function f(n), we must arrive at a multiple of 3 that is less than 1999. We can then show by inspection that every one of these reduces to 153.
Since numerology has been popular for thousands of years, it’s conceivable that some of the special properties of the number 153 might have been known to the author of the Gospel. Of course, our modern decimal number system wasn’t officially invented until much later, so it might seem implausible that the number 153 was selected on the basis of any properties of its decimal digits. On the other hand, the text (at least in the English translations) does specifically state the number verbally in explicit decimal form, i.e.,
“Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there was so many, yet was not the net broken.” – John, 21:11
Thus, rather than talking about scores or dozens, it speaks in multiples of 100, 10, and 1.
Since only multiples of 3 reduce to 153, we might ask what happens to the other numbers. It can be shown that all the integers congruent to 2 (mod 3) reduce to either 371 or 407. The integers congruent to 1 (mod 3) reduce to one of the fixed values 1 or 370, or else to one of the cycles [55, 250, 133], [160, 217, 352], [136, 244], [919, 1459]. Within the congruence classes modulo 3 there doesn’t seem to be any simple way of characterizing the numbers that reduce to each of the possible fixed values or limit cycles.
Naturally we could perform similar iterations on the digits of a number in any base. One of the more interesting cases is the base 14, in which 2/3 of all number eventually fall into a particular cycle. Coincidentally, this cycle includes the decimal number 153, but it also includes 26 other numbers, for a total length of 27, which is 3 cubed (which the mystically minded should have no trouble associating with the Trinity). The decimal values of this base-14 cycle are:
9 729 1028 368 1793 738 2027 2395 1756
2925 3926 433 2213 1396 1344 1944 4185 2605
2262 2186 1347 1971 2331 3402 153 3197 198
Again, there doesn’t appear to be any way of distinguishing the numbers that reduce to this cycle from those that don’t, other than by performing the iterations. By considering sums of higher powers (or polynomials) of the digits in other bases, we can produce a wide variety of arbitrarily long (but always finite) cycles.
The number 153 is also sometimes said to be related to the symbol called the “vesica piscis”, which consists of the intersection of two equal circles whose centers are located on each other’s circumferences. However, the relevance of the number 153 to this shape is rather dubious. It rests on the fact that the ratio of the length to the width of this shape equals the square root of 3, and one of the convergents of the continued fraction for the square root of 3 happens to be 265/153. It is sometimes claimed that this was the value used by Archimedes, but this is only partly true. Archimedes knew that the square root of 3 is irrational, and he determined that its value lies between 265/153 and 1351/780, the latter being another convergent of the continued fraction.
The Catch of the Day (153 Fishes)
After his crucifixion, Jesus Christ appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias.
It happened this way: Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together.
I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?” “No,” they answered.
He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.”
When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”
As soon as Simon Peter heard her say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.
The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.
When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread
Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish you have just caught.”
Simon Peter climbed aboard and dragged the net ashore.
It was full of large fish, 153, but even with so many the net was not torn.
This article is based on information from:
Jesus Christ, Sun of God: Ancient Cosmology and Early Christian Symbolism by David Fideler