Saturday, May 31, 2014

John 21:7 -- Why did Peter throw himself into the water..excited to see Jesus?

Evidence from Bible's Number Patterns Clarifies our Interpretation

“… So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea.….” John 21:7

In the 21st chapter of the book of John in the New Testament we find an account of how Jesus secretly manifested himself to his disciples on a beach after his resurrection. John 21 says that all night Peter and the disciples were out fishing in a boat, but they did not catch any fish. As the sun came up, an unknown man (Jesus) stood on the shore commenting that they had caught no fish. This man then instructed them to put the net down on the right side of the boat and as a result they caught so many fish they could not lift the net into the boat.

After this obvious miracle occurred, the disciple in the boat with Peter exclaimed "It is the Lord" recognizing this man on the beach as the risen Jesus. Upon hearing this, Peter immediately got up and dressed himself (because he was naked) and "threw" himself into the ocean.

Every explanation of this account I can find says Peter was so excited to go see the Lord that he didn't wait for the boat to be taken to shore. Instead, he threw himself in the water to quickly swim to see Jesus. This explanation never made good sense to me and it bothered me that the text said Peter "threw" himself in the water. For many years I felt it was taking a leap of interpretation to read into the text why Peter threw himself in the water. My experience was (when discussing scripture with others) when I assumed too much about what the text said,  I often found myself in the uncomfortable position of trying to explain how I could know what the text did not specifically spell out.

One day, when encountering this text again in one of my personal Bible study times I saw it in a different light. The previous evening I had been in a study of Genesis chapter 3 where Adam and Eve sinned by eating the forbidden fruit. When God came by in the garden, they knew their guilt of sin and covered themselves (dressed) and hid from God due to their shame. When studying John 21 the next day I realized this account of Peter dressing himself and then throwing himself in the water was very much like Adam in Eve in the Garden.

As I studied this text more I realized Peter had just previously denied Jesus three times before his crucifixion and now Jesus had shown up right before him. It seems that out of his guilt and shame Peter covered his nakedness and tried to hide so Jesus would not see him.

I was very excited to see this aspect of the text and later tried to share it with others. Everyone I explained the possibility to thought it was interesting but could not possibly be a valid explanation. They would quickly change the subject at the unpleasant thought of discussing such crazy thoughts about this passage.

Wanting to help prove to myself that my new interpretation was either true or not, I thought that I might look at the pattern of themes in the Bible's 21:7 verses and see if they would help clarify what the verse at John 21:7 was really saying. I was astonished to find very clearly that the preponderance of 21:7 verses spoke of sin, not excitement or good. Even though I still don't find anyone who quite accepts my explanation today, I am basically confident that Peter was hiding from his shame and not eager to see Jesus.

This is one of my best examples of how the patterns reflected in Biblical numbering can help guide our interpretation of scripture. It shows another way the Bible helps interpret itself. Following is an explanation of how the patterns of like referenced verses can help us discern scripture better.

Like-referenced Verses

There are 4,532 different combinations of chapter- and verse-number references, which I refer to as “like-referenced-verse sets.” These are verses in different books that have the same chapter and verse number, such as the 28:14 verse set, in which there are, coincidentally, fourteen different verses. Due to the predictability of numbers with their themes, we can examine sets of like-referenced verses to get an understanding of the common theme that runs through them. This is not to imply that every verse in the set has the same theme, but every verse in the set does have themes relating somehow to the verse reference number, and by examining all of those in the set we can observe themes running through them. One of the most helpful examples of where these like-referenced verse sets have guided me is in examining John 21:7, where Peter throws himself into the water when he sees Jesus on the shore: “… So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment on (for he was stripped for work), and threw himself into the sea.….”

Every commentary I find seems to believe Peter was in such a hurry to see Jesus that he jumped into the water to swim to the Lord. But that’s not what the verse says. It says he threw himself into the water. When other people did not understand how I questioned the common interpretation I decided to look at like-referenced verses to see if there were clues to helping understand it. I was amazed as I began to see the strong evidence for the theme of 21:7 verses relating to the shame of sin.

Examples of Bible's 21:7 verses showing they follow a pattern of sinfulness

Num 21:7 So the people came to Moses and said, "We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD…
Job 21:7 "Why do the wicked still live, Continue on, also become very powerful?
1Chr 21:7 God was displeased with this thing, so He struck Israel.
Prov 21:7 The violence of the wicked will drag them away, Because they refuse to act with justice.
Deu 21:7 and they shall answer and say, 'Our hands did not shed this blood, nor did our eyes see it.
Lev 21:7 'They shall not take a woman who is profaned by harlotry, nor shall they take a woman divorced from her husband…
2Kin 21:7 Then he set the carved image of Asherah that he had made in the house (temple).
Eze 21:7 "..'Why do you groan?' you shall say, 'Because of the news that is coming; and every heart will melt, all hands will be feeble"

And in John 21:7 notice how the sin theme surfaces in the text...
 when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put his outer garment (fig leaf) on and threw himself into the sea (tried to hide from the Lord)" (John 21:7 ).   
            The verses in this 21:7 set helped me confirm that Peter didn’t throw himself into the water because he was eager to see Jesus, but because he had just denied Jesus three times, and upon seeing Him, much like Adam and Eve in the garden, he put on a fig leaf (his outer garmet) “threw himself” into the water to hide from the Lord. This gives amazing meaning we can relate to regarding Peter’s action as we all can understand such shame and knowing Peter was afraid to see Jesus gives new understanding to the significance of the following passages where Jesus restores him—John 21:15 “...Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me...”. 

Analyzing verse sets does not interpret verses for you, but it gives valuable insight to better understand the messages in the Bible. When you need more information to help understand scripture, examine like referenced verses for themes that will guide you.

(This post is an update from a previous version)

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Jesus Christ - wearing a robe dipped in blood -- Purity/Righteousness and the Bible 333rd Book Verses

The Bible's twenty-nine 333rd book verses...

Even though we don't see them printed in our Bibles, just like all verses in each chapter are numbered, every verse in each book has a related sequential number associated with it. For example, the book of Hebrews has 303 verses which have the numbers 1 to 303 associated with them. Since every number has some relationship to the text it is associated with, we can use these "Book Verse Numbers" to help us validate and interpret God's Word.

In addition to the Book Verse Numbers helping us understand verse text, it is very enlightening to compare like numbered book verses across the Bible. That is, in the example below, we can compare the 333rd book verses found throughout the Bible to help us comprehend the symbolism we associate with a number and which is found in those verses. Book verse numbers are one of the first places I go when I want to understand the symbolism for any number.

Three, Thirty-Three and Three-Thirty-Three (3,33,333) symbolically often relate to righteousness and purity. I don't want to oversimplify the symbolism of any number, but a general way to look at number 333 is to consider that it is associated with being pure (or being made pure) or  righteous. On the positive side this number reveals the good side of righteousness and on the negative side it often reflects some aspect of unrighteousness.

SIDEBAR - Hebrews and number 33 -- Interesting that the book of Hebrews has 303 verses which associates the book with number 33. Like number 333, this number is symbolic of purity/righteousness and being set apart. (every Bible number has a meaning, even the count of verses in books and chapters). To help demonstrate this symbolism, the book of Hebrews is reminding believers to accept the better way offered through Jesus Christ and not to return to the old Jewish ways of being acceptable to God. That is - to be set apart from the old ways and to remain pure. Further evidence of number 3 and 33 being related to this symbolism is seen in Hebrews 3:3 "For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house". I also don't think it is coincidence that the verse immediately following (3:3) is 3:4 and happens to be the 30,000th verse of the Bible in the 1136th Bible chapter and happens to be the 36th verse of the book of Hebrews. Heb 3:4 "For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God". (see another post for information about the Bible's 31 transitional 1000th verses).

See the #333 symbolism in the below examples

To understand the related symbolism of the Bible 333rd book verses, I've included them below and arranged them with the more obvious examples related to purity/righteousness/being set apart at the top of the list.

Note that Book verse numbers are simply one of many numbers associated with any Bible verse, so don't assume all the verses will have the same message. Instead, consider that verses associated with number 333 will likely contain some aspect of the symbolism of that number.

Consider the following 333rd book verses and how they consistently show some aspect of being separated, set apart or of righteousness/unrighteousness. Of course, my definition of the symbolism for number 333 may be incorrect, but the important point is that Book Verse Numbers help us comprehend a message that can be found in other verses having the same number. Lastly, as with any study of scripture, the symbolism may not be apparent to you in some of the examples so don't expect every verse text to line up nicely with the pattern. I suspect if we look deep enough, the number 333 has a God defined symbolism and the verse text associated with this number all contain it. I call this perfection, the DNA like perfection of the Bible's Numbering.

The "333rd" verses of 29 books of the Bible that contain them 

Rev 19:13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

John 7:49 "But this crowd which does not know the Law is accursed."

2Sam 13:38 So Absalom had fled and gone to Geshur, and was there three years.

Judg 11:13 …"Because Israel took away my land when they came up from Egypt.. therefore, return them peaceably now."

Psa 25:21 Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, For I wait for You.

Jer 13:13 then say to them, 'Thus says the LORD, "Behold I am about to fill all the inhabitants of this land--..--with drunkenness!

Act 9:40 ..Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, "Tabitha, arise."..

Gen 13:14 The LORD said to Abram, after Lot had separated from him, "Now lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward;

Lev 13:26 "But if the priest looks at it, and indeed, there is no white hair in the bright spot..then the priest shall isolate him for seven days;

Deu 11:17 "Or the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and He will shut up the heavens so that there will be no rain and the ground will not yield its fruit; and you will perish quickly from the good land which the LORD is giving you.

2Kin 12:16 The money from the guilt offerings and the money from the sin offerings was not brought into the house of the LORD; it was for the priests.

2Chr 17:4 but sought the God of his father, followed His commandments, and did not act as Israel did.

Prov 12:14 A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his words, And the deeds of a man's hands will return to him.

Isa 17:4 Now in that day the glory of Jacob will fade, And the fatness of his flesh will become lean.

Eze 16:35 Therefore, O harlot, hear the word of the LORD.

Dan 11:34 "Now when they fall they will be granted a little help, and many will join with them in hypocrisy.

Matt 11:18 "For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon!'

Mrk 9:10 They seized upon that statement, discussing with one another what rising from the dead meant.

Some more difficult to see related symbolism...
Exo 12:49 "The same law shall apply to the native as to the stranger who sojourns among you."

Num 7:87 all the oxen for the burnt offering twelve bulls, the rams twelve, the male lambs one year old with their grain offering twelve, and the male goats for a sin offering twelve;

1Sam 14:37 Saul inquired of God, "Shall I go down after the Philistines? Will You give them into the hand of Israel?" But He did not answer him on that day.

1Kin 8:65 So Solomon observed the feast at that time, and all Israel with him, a great assembly..before the LORD our God, ..

Job 14:21 "His sons achieve honor, but he does not know it; Or they become insignificant, but he does not perceive it.

Luke 7:31 "To what then shall I compare the men of this generation, and what are they like?

Rom 12:18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.

1Cor 14:18 I thank God, I speak in tongues more than you all;

Symbolism in these examples requires understanding of the references... 

1Chr 8:10 Jeuz, Sachia, Mirmah. These were his sons, heads of fathers' {households.}

Neh 12:5 Mijamin, Maadiah, Bilgah,

Josh 13:30 Their territory was from Mahanaim, all Bashan, all the kingdom of Og king of Bashan, and all the towns of Jair, which are in Bashan, sixty cities;