One of my favorite stories in Scripture is the scene in John 21 where, after Jesus's death and resurrection, he appears to the disciples on the Sea of Galilee. Recently, a pastor I listen to pointed out things in this story I'd never seen before. Things that encouraged me, blessed, me, and made me realize that it's so true that we can never explore all the incredible depths of the Word of God.
I also got excited because we can see the rapture so clearly in this story. In fact, the rapture is illustrated and mentioned in so many different passages and ways in the Bible, that's it's hard to fathom how important this event is to God. But why wouldn't it be? The entire Bible is a love story, yes, a romantic love story in which the Creator of all things is searching for a bride for His only and beloved Son! The rapture is the culmination of such a quest. It is the bridegroom going out to fetch His bride and bring her back for a wedding!
That is why I believe the rapture is the single most important event in history, aside from the death and resurrection of Jesus! That's why it is alluded to throughout Scripture, if we only have eyes to see.
In John 21, the disciples are gathered on the Sea of Tiberias. The fact that the name Tiberias was used is our first clue that this passage will be about Gentiles. Tiberias is the Greek name for the Sea of Galilee.
The disciples are lost. They really don't know what to do. Jesus has died and resurrected but He is no longer with them. They've been following Him for years and now, they are at a loss as to what is next. Peter decides to go fishing, and the others join him.
Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We are going with you also.” They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing. John 21:3
In the prior verse, it tells us the names of the disciples who were present. If you count them, there were 7 of them.
We see already a few things just from this passage.
- Jesus is no longer with them
- 7 disciples may reference the 7 churches that we find in Revelation. These churches represent the churches through the ages as well as types of churches. Together they represent the full body of believers.
- Water throughout Scripture represents the world. The disciples go back out into the world.
They don't catch any fish. Jesus appears on shore, but they don't recognize Him. He calls out to them and tells them to toss their net on the other side of the boat.
And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.” So they cast, and now they were not able to draw it in because of the multitude of fish. John 3:6
John says it's Jesus and Peter jumps into water and swims to shore
Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment (for he had removed it), and plunged into the sea v 6
Could the garment represent a wedding garment? It reminds me of the parable Jesus told about a man who sneaked into the wedding banquet without a wedding garment and he was cast out. (Matt 22) Our wedding garments represent the righteous acts of the saints according to Revelation 12:8
The disciples row to shore and can barely drag the net onto the sand, it is so full of fish!
Simon Peter went up and dragged the net to land, full of large fish, one hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not broken. v 11
Numbers mean something in Scripture. I've only just begun to look into the meaning behind Biblical numbers. Why would God tell us exactly how many fish were caught.. and why 153?
153 has a few different meanings, but one of them is "Sons of God" or those who are to inherit everlasting righteousness. It can also mean "He is faithful" and "He shall cause to inherit"
Could these 153 fish be the results of a rapture? It's important to note also that the net was not torn. In other words, Jesus did not lose any whom the Father gave Him.
In the story, we find Jesus on shore, preparing lunch for the disciples. Could this be a reference to the wedding banquet that will occur after the rapture in heaven?
If I'm right, then it would make sense of one of the most confusing passages in Scripture.
Then Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following, who also had leaned on His breast at the supper, and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, “But Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me.” v. 20-22
Some Theologians have interpreted this passage to mean that the Apostle John never died. But if this entire passage is an allegory for the rapture, and the disciples equate to the 7 churches throughout history, then isn't Jesus simply saying that the final world wide church of believers would remain until He came to get them? Food for thought!
We have 7 churches going out into the world to evangelize. They have no success until Jesus commissions them with a word. Then at the end of the age, Jesus is preparing a banquet, and the rapture occurs, hauling in the true "Sons of God", of whom Jesus loses none. Cool, huh?
So, what do you think?
Next week, my recap of the prophetic events of 2019