John Chapter 21
By Bob Schlenker (Prints about 10 pages) updated 3/25/00
During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. Matthew 14:25In the next verse, instead of a direct time reference the chronology is given by means of the distance they had traveled.
When they had rowed three or three and a half miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were terrified. John 6:19What the NIV interprets as three or three and a half miles is twenty five or thirty stadia in the text, which is about halfway across the lake. Here in the 21st chapter of John, the time element is similarly disclosed.
The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. John 21:8According to the Newberry Interlinear Greek, the distance from shore is "somewhere about two hundred cubits." This expression of time as in cubits is similar to the usage in Joshua 3:4 where the 2000 cubits represent 2000 years, but here the two hundred cubits apparently represent 2 years. The "about two years" into the Famine week agrees with the other two Bride Theft scenarios that relate the time relative to the week in whole numbers. As you may know from Acts 12 , the terminology utilized in verse 10 is that of passing the first and second guards. (phulake - "watches") In Genesis 45:6, the chronology is plainly shown as being after two years of the Famine week with five remaining.
Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way: 2 Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together. 3 '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. 4 Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. 5 He called out to them, 'Friends, haven't you any fish?' 'No,' they answered. 6 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. John 21:1-6There are seven disciples in the boat, two of whom are unnamed but the others we know. Simon Peter is going to play a special role as the Bride. One of the sons of Zebedee is going to play a very special role as well. Doesn't it seem rather odd that nobody recognized Jesus? Keep this in mind. Now, the Lord had already told Simon about this kind of fishing trip in Luke 5:10b, "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men." The catch of 153 fish represents a resurrection, an ingathering or harvest of righteous people.Jesus had directed the fishermen to throw their net on the right side of the boat. The right side is where the righteous and worthy are, as can be seen in the following verses.
He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 'Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. Matthew 25:33-34This catch of fish distinguishes between the fish, taking only those on the right side. At this time it is only the Bride who are taken out from among the others. The "goat fish" remain in the lake to be fished out at another time.
Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, 'It is the Lord!' John 21:7aFirst, let's identify the "disciple whom Jesus loved" by name. A brief consideration of verses 20-24 reveals that this mystery disciple is none other than John. Why is John's identity disclosed to us in this mysterious fashion? It rather forcefully brings our attention to bear upon this one very special feature. John's relationship with Jesus is emphasized - Jesus loved him! On the prophetic level, it is important to see that John represents a beloved people, a particularly and specially loved people. The name John means "Jehovah is gracious giver." The Lord will show his love for these John people in such a way that Yahweh's generous bestowal of grace will be known to all.
Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. 3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders. No one could learn the song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth. 4 These are those who did not defile themselves with women, for they kept themselves pure. They follow the Lamb wherever he goes. They were purchased from among men and offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. 5 No lie was found in their mouths; they are blameless. Revelation 14:1-5In Genesis 44-46, they are foreshadowed in Joseph's brothers and, in Acts 12, as those gathered in the house of Mary.
For if their (Israel's) rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their (Israel's) acceptance be but life from the dead? Romans 11:15Yes, life from the dead is a literal resurrection. There are several resurrections appointed for this season and each one in turn is precipitated by an instance of "their acceptance." The participants in the first wave are these 144k Jews that Revelation 14:4 states are to be offered as firstfruits to God and the Lamb.
As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, 'It is the Lord,' he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. John 21:7bPeter's presence in the boat on the Sea of Tiberius is conditional. He can only remain with them until a certain disciple recognizes Y'shua's identity! Once Simon Peter heard John say, "It is the Lord," he could no longer remain in the boat because, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? Simon Peter as the Bride immediately goes to be with the Lord, but he couldn't go as he was. He had to be changed somehow or else he couldn't have left the boat and gone to be with the Lord on the shore. Hasn't it seemed rather odd in your past readings of this passage that Peter would put on his outer garment and jump in the water? Most guys take clothes off before they go swimming, but he had to clothe himself properly to take this special trip.
For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54 When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: 'Death has been swallowed up in victory.' I Corinthians 15:53-54We note this same pattern in Acts 12 where Peter once again represented the Bride and acted out the Bride theft. Before Peter could leave the prison, entering Jerusalem by passing through the iron gate, he had to properly clothe himself.
Then the angel said to him, 'Put on your clothes and sandals.' And Peter did so. 'Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,' the angel told him. Acts 12:8The outer garment Simon Peter actually clothed himself with would likely have been his tallit, knowing something of that garment's use. (I recommend a video about the tallit called Elijah's Mantle, by J.R. Church of Prophecy in the News.) The tallit is a symbolic garment in this realm that represents a garment in the spiritual realm. When you understand the numerous but usually rather cryptic scriptural references to the tallit, and its frequent use in connection with resurrection, it is a reasonable inference that this was the actual cloak and outer garment in those accounts.
After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, 'I tell you the truth, one of you is going to betray me.' 22 His disciples stared at one another at a loss to know which of them he meant. 23 One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. 24 Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, 'Ask him which one he means.' 25 Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, 'Lord, who is it?' 26 Jesus answered, 'It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.'Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon. John 13:21-26This passage is one of the primary prophetic scenarios that depicts the revelation of the lawless one. This event is the trigger that actually prompts the 144k's recognition of their Messiah and consequent Bride Theft. Does this interaction between Peter and this disciple remind you of John 21:7? It should! In both scenarios, Peter is very interested in what this disciple has to say. In John 21, the concern is about the identity of the one who called them friends while standing on the shore (the Messiah); in John 13, it's the betrayer's identity. (the lawless one or anti-Messiah) This whole identity issue is at the core of what is happening. Properly discern who Jesus is. Who is the disciple whom Jesus loved? Who is the betrayer? Baptism is for revealing. Through the agency of this dipping of the piece of bread, the baptism of this counterfeit manna, God intends to do a great work of revelation for his beloved people.
The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards. 9 When they landed, they saw a fire of burning coals there with fish on it, and some bread. John 21:8-9Just like in the Genesis 44-5 scenario, the Bride (Benjamin) and the 144k (the other brothers) have come to be with Y'shua (Joseph). In Genesis they were at Joseph's house in Egypt as a type of this place in heaven, while here in John 21 they are on the shore. The presence of a fire of burning coals suggests the antitypical location of the altar in heaven (Rev. 14:18, etc.). The particular Greek word used for the fish seen on the fire refers to what we might think of as relish, a fish spread for the bread. That there would be fish in such a condition already with Jesus on the shore speaks to me of the following.
When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God and the testimony they had maintained. Revelation 6:9Let's pick up the record again in verse 10.
Jesus said to them, 'Bring some of the fish you have just caught.' 11 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. John 21:10-11The 153 large fish is a well known representation of the righteous who will be harvested from the sea of humanity. Many people have done excellent studies on this number, and I recommend you take the time to study it if you haven't done so already.
Jesus said to them, 'Come and have breakfast.' None of the disciples dared ask him, 'Who are you?' They knew it was the Lord. John 21:12The assembled disciples were invited to dine with the Lord. I believe there's reference to this meal in other places. Consider two passages from the Gospel of Luke. The first is Jesus' promise to those servants who are ready when he comes in the middle of the third "watch of the night." The second is his promise to eat that meal (which was a Jewish wedding proposal) again when it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God - when he comes as the Bridegroom to take his Bride. Pesah is the feast appointed for the Bride theft. The view in John 21 is when Pesah finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.
It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. Luke 12:37-38You may have noticed the peculiar feature in John 21:12 that the disciples knew it was the Lord but didn't dare ask him, Who are you? How strange? We must infer that if the disciples dared, that is, if they had the courage to do so, they would indeed ask who he was. Right? So, if they knew it was the Lord, why would they want to ask him who he was? What's going on in this passage? It would seem that the 144,000 are not yet quite fully aware of who exactly this Jesus their Lord is. They know he's the Lord, but they don't yet know he's the very brother who had been sold out. This is according to the pattern shown by the meal shared by Joseph (Y'shua) and his brothers (144k) when Benjamin (Bride) had been brought to Egypt. (heaven) (See Genesis 43:16-34) At that point in the scenario, Joseph hadn't yet revealed the truth of his identity to his brothers. In verse 33, the brothers were looking at each other in astonishment after they had been seated before Joseph in order of their ages. Since the 10 brothers were all within 6 years of age, this seating arrangement would have been cause for astonishment because, either Joseph had to be a very good guesser, or, he had an unknown source of knowledge about them. Obviously, the latter is the case. It seems to me that they want to know why they are receiving this special treatment but they don't dare ask. They kind of know who this man is by his position and and by his Egyptian name but they don't yet really understand. In Genesis 44:18, Judah calls him Lord and says he knows he is equal to Pharaoh himself, but he still doesn't know that he is actually his brother Joseph. This revelation comes as Joseph reveals his identity plainly in chapter 45. Do you see the parallel to John 21:12? At this stage of getting to know their Messiah, the 144k still need a little more insight. That condition will be dealt with, as we see in the next verse in the account.
And he said to them, 'I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God. Luke 22:15-16
Jesus came, took the bread and gave it to them, and did the same with the fish. John 21:13When the Lord breaks bread and feeds people, this frequently used symbol signifies opening their understanding. Consider the following example.
Luke 24:30-31, 35Now, the 144,00 understand about their brother. There will be no more need for "Egyptian" interpreters! Jesus' explanation at that time though yet future to us as I write has been prerecorded and the transcript is as follows:
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.
Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.
God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance. Genesis 45:7Isn't God good!
Mention of the third time of anything always flags a resurrection scenario for the observant student to seek out and learn what the Lord would have us to know. We have certainly discovered one in the context, haven't we?
This was now the third time Jesus appeared to his disciples after he was raised from the dead. John 21:14
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?' 'Yes, Lord, ' he said, 'you know that I love you. ' Jesus said, 'Feed my lambs. ' 16 Again Jesus said, 'Simon son of John, do you truly love me? ' He answered, 'Yes, Lord, you know that I love you. ' Jesus said, 'Take care of my sheep. ' 17 The third time he said to him, 'Simon son of John, do you love me? ' Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, 'Do you love me? ' He said, 'Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you. ' Jesus said, 'Feed my sheep. 18 I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go. ' 19 Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God... John 21:14-19aThe sheep and the fish in the John 21 record are similar symbols, both being of God's people. The sheep symbol has more to do with the relationship with the shepherd than does the fish symbol with the fisherman. The dialogue concerns Peter's as representative of the church divisions' love for Jesus and obedience to his commands. This dramatic scene in the midst of this transition of the ages is Jesus' address to Simon, Son of John. Much has been written about this curious matter of the three part question/answer dialogue between Jesus and this disciple. This passage has often been linked by students of the Bible to the three times Peter denied the Lord, and I would agree that they seem to be related. The connection goes beyond the level of the Apostle Peter's personal relationship with the Lord, having to do with the three-fold division of the Church - just like the three denials in Gethsemane. The church divisions are marked by resurrection, the theme highlighted in the key verse 14. The three question/answer/command rounds appear to relate to the three divisions. You see, Peter's prophetic role is to represent each of the three divisions of the church, not just the Bride.
|first time||agapao-truly love||bosko-feed||arnion-lambs|
|second time||agapao-truly love||poimaino-take care of||probaton-sheep|
Then he (Jesus) said to him, 'Follow me! ' 20 Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, 'Lord, who is going to betray you? ') 21 When Peter saw him, he asked, 'Lord, what about him? ' 22 Jesus answered, 'If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me. ' 23 Because of this, the rumor spread among the brothers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, 'If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? ' 24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true. John 21:19b-24What an interesting passage! I had puzzled over that strange account for years but now I think I understand! Since Peter/Bride is in his resurrected spiritual body, he may go where the Lord goes - the Bride goes with the Bridegroom. But we see them being followed by the 144,000. This is evidently what they are supposed to do because the Lord doesn't rebuke them. How do they follow? On one significant level, they follow in the Bride's footsteps by walking in obedience to the Lord. We might infer from the record that the manner of following has something to do with their remaining alive until the Lord returns. By reason of our Lord's question to Peter about their remaining alive ("What is that to you?") we can also infer that it is something to Peter. This passage as well as others speak to me of the probability of an ongoing relationship between the Bride and the 144k.
Afterward Jesus appeared again to his disciples, by the Sea of Tiberias. It happened this way:In the relation between the fishermen and Jesus, we see that he "appeared again" to his disciples. Since this suggests twice, lets begin with the factor two. Now, verse 2:
Simon Peter, Thomas (called Didymus), Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, the sons of Zebedee, and two other disciples were together.In the relationship between the seven disciples, five are identified (the sons of Zebedee being James and John) and two are not identified. Why is that? Perhaps the reason is at hand. The first number we find in verse 2 is 5. Lets take the previous number 2 and multiply it by the next number which appeared - 5. [2x5=10] Since we then had two mystery disciples, let's take the previous product and multiply it by 2. [10x2=20] Verse 3:
'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.Now, in verse 3 as in verse 2, the disciples are found relating to each other in two groups; here appearing as 1 and 6. As we multiply the previous product by one we still have 20, but then multiplying by 6 we have a new product of 120. Now, verses 4-8:
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus. 5 He called out to them, 'Friends, haven't you any fish? ' 'No, ' they answered. 6 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. 7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, 'It is the Lord! ' As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, 'It is the Lord, ' he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water. 8 The other disciples followed in the boat, towing the net full of fish, for they were not far from shore, about a hundred yards.Why did Peter jump into the water? Maybe its so he would give us another change in the relationship between the fishermen of 1 and 6. OK. The previous product times 1 times 6 gives us 120 x 1 x 6 = 720.
Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. John 21:25