Q. I forgot what I was listening to the other day but the person said that there is a symbolic representation of the 153 fishes in John 21:11. I remember it had something to do with the 3 troops of 51 soldiers from the old testament. I was wondering if you can expand on this idea?
A. There are several explanations for the 153 fish. Augustine said it tells us there will be a specific number of believers in the Church (I agree). Jerome (or maybe Aristotle) taught that there are 153 species of fish in the Mediterranean and this means that there will be those in the church from every type of human. Someone else discovered that if you square 12, the number of the Church, you get 144. If you square 3, the number of the trinity you get 9. Add the two together and you get 153. But here’s my favorite.
The number 17 is the sum of 7 denoting divine perfection and 10 denoting ordinal perfection. Therefore it symbolizes the perfection of spiritual order. As if to confirm this, 17 is a prime number and it’s the 7th prime number from the number 1. The sum of the digits from 1 to 17 inclusive equals 153.