The Secret Resurrections of John 21

I've come to love the twenty-first chapter of John! It features the colorful account of a fishing trip where the Lord directs his disciples to catch 153 large fish from the right side of the boat. The catch of fish is widely seen as a symbol of resurrection, and so it is. I had that understanding for many years before my eyes were opened to discover another resurrection symbol alongside the catch of fish. This presents a striking view of the events that are concealed and revealed in Genesis 45 and Acts 12, the Bride Theft resurrection and the trigger for that event, the turning of 144,000 sons of Israel to accept Y'shua as their Messiah.

I was able to identify this prophetic scenario with confidence because I was already familiar with many of the “code” words of the esoteric vocabulary and the secret of Romans 11:15 had just been revealed to me. If you haven't read about that, you'll find this study very helpful: What Will Their Acceptance be but Life from the Dead? I recommend taking this opportunity to read the entire 21st chapter of John because you're going to benefit if it's fresh in mind.

Ready? Let's begin!

1 After these things Jesus manifested Himself again to the disciples at the Sea of Tiberias, and He manifested Himself in this way. 2 Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two others of His disciples were together. 3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said to him, “We will also come with you.” They went out and got into the boat; and that night they caught nothing. 4 But when the day was now breaking, Jesus stood on the beach; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 So Jesus said to them, “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?” They answered Him, “No.” 6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.” So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish.

John 21:1-6

Several of this story's elements suggest that there's a resurrection hidden in the context. The catching of fish in a net is explained as a resurrection symbol in a parable in the thirteenth chapter of Matthew.

47 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; 48 and when it was filled, they drew it up on the beach; and they sat down and gathered the good fish into containers, but the bad they threw away. 49 So it will be at the end of the age; the angels will come forth and take out the wicked from among the righteous, 50 and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 13:47-50

Catching fish in a net pictures a resurrection like how a harvest of crops also does. (See The Harvest Allegory) The dragnet catches all the fish in the sea, and from this we know that the parable presents us with a picture of the last resurrection of the season, at the Feast of Ingathering. In the parable of Matthew 13 it is the angels who do the fishing, but in John 21, another interpretation is evident.

The Lord suggests the men-as-fish metaphor after a miraculous fishing trip in the fifth chapter of Luke.

9 For amazement had seized him and all his companions because of the catch of fish which they had taken; 10 and so also were James and John, sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not fear, from now on you will be catching men.”

Luke 5:9-10

In John 21, when Jesus directs the men very specifically, the symbol used is very revealing.

And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat and you will find a catch.” So they cast, and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great number of fish.

John 21:6

He directed the fishermen to cast their net on the right side of the boat, which is the side is where the righteous and worthy are found. We learn this symbolism from the 25th chapter of Matthew, where another metaphor is used.

33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

Matthew 25:33-34

The fish were caught from only the right side, which signifies that, at this time, it's only the righteous who are taken. The "goat" fish remain in the lake. This pictures a selective harvest or resurrection event, the first of which finds only the white-robed Bride being taken. Those left behind are given another brief season to come to full maturity - and some will!

In John's account, there are a total of seven disciples in the boat. The identities of two are unknown but five are clearly identified (in yet another example of a set of seven items being consistently divided into two and five - The Night of Seven Watches). Those who will play the primary roles in this prophetic allegory that plays alongside the fish catching are Simon Peter, as the Bride, and John, one of the sons of Zebedee, as the 144,000 sons of Israel.

Now, here's a key verse.

Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” 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

Have you ever wondered why none of them had recognized the Lord, or why Peter would put on his outer garment before jumping into the water? Extra clothing usually comes off before you go swimming, right? Odd behaviors often flag the presence of a hidden prophecy - and that's certainly the case here! If you've been working your way through the Beyond the Veil studies in sequence like the chapters of a book, you've already seen an example of how the act of clothing oneself signifies the putting on of immortality. That's what Peter did in Acts 12 just before he modeled a resurrection by leaving the prison with the angel, passing through the iron gate that opened by itself, and that's what he does here.

For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.

I Corinthians 15:53-54

Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” 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 a demonstration of how “this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality,” Simon Peter puts his outer garment on. He's going to demonstrate how “death is swallowed up in victory by first signifying his death. This is done as he throws himself into the sea. In baptism, one is immersed in water to signify the death of this body of flesh. One is brought back up out of the water to signify being raised from the dead in newness of life. (See Baptism - The Prophecy) Peter throws himself into the sea to go meet the Lord on the shore. As he emerges from the sea, it is, in type, in a glorified resurrection body as he arrives in the Lord's presence!

Isn't that a glorious revelation? What a privilege we have, whose eyes have been opened to see such a view beyond the veil! What might be the most awesome thing about this scene is how the interaction between the Bride and the 144,000 sons of Israel is pictured, right there in verse 7 and, again, later in the chapter as the identities of those disciples in the featured roles are confirmed!

What prompted Peter to suddenly leave the others to go be with the Lord? According to John 21:7, it was his hearing that disciple whom Jesus loved say to him, “It is the Lord.” The Author flags our attention in this verse, highlighting the matter of, hearing, in a familiar way. When you find the meaning of a name being demonstrated in a verse where the name is used, something of value has been concealed for our discovery. The name used in the narrative is, Simon Peter. The name, Simon, means, hearing (as also noted with regard to Simeon-hearing, and the matter of his being bound, in Genesis 42:24 - Joseph and Benjamin - Part I). Simon Peter interprets to Hearing Peter. So it is that Hearing Peter heard something that was of enormous significance when that disciple whom Jesus loved said to him, “It is the Lord.” That matter has our attention, and when you see this in light of Romans 11, you understand why Peter had to leave the boat immediately to go be with the Lord!

Every resurrection event is linked to Israel and their relationship with their Messiah.

For if their (Israel's) rejection (of Y'shua their Messiah) is the reconciliation of the world, what will their (Israel's) acceptance (of Y'shua their Messiah) be but life from the dead? (resurrection)

Romans 11:15

By way of the simple interaction between two disciples, John 21 presents us with a beautiful allegorical illustration of this dynamic. A resurrection is triggered every time a faction of Israel turns to accept Y'shua as their Messiah. (What Will Their Acceptance be but Life from the Dead?) “That disciple whom Jesus loved” represents a faction of Israel, and when they recognize and identify the glorified Y'shua as the Lord, well, that's it for those whose time has come for resurrection! “What will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” 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

Simon Peter's presence in the fishing boat on the Sea of Tiberius was conditional, you see. He could only remain there with the others until one in particular recognized and correctly identified the risen Y'shua as their own Lord. When that condition was met, Simon Peter's time was up - he had to go, putting on immortality and making his way through death to new life in the Lord's presence!

The reason why only Simon Peter went at this time was because, of all those in the boat, only he was Simon, which is to say, hearing. He represents those with a hearing ear. I believe there is a sense where the seven disciples in the boat signifies the corporate church of the body of Christ.

As for the mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.

Revelation 1:20

From out of the sevenfold church, those with a hearing ear are taken while those without hearing are left behind. This compares to the other resurrection imagery in the record, how those righteous fish from the right side of the boat are caught in the net to leave all the other fish behind in the sea.

Why is the disciple whom Jesus loved identified by this descriptive instead of simply being named? The enigmatic verses 20-24 reveal that it's none other than this gospel book's writer, John, the brother of James. Was John just being cute with us by making this cryptic reference to himself? Was he boasting about his relationship or acting humbly? You should know this account wasn't conceived in John's carnal mind. It's the word of Y'shua given through the agency of John. In type, John represents a beloved people, the Lord's own brothers after the flesh, the chosen people Israel. John is the brother of James, whose name in Hebrew is, Jacob.

Scripture records the testimony of one who is loved by God.

Just as it is written, "JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED."

Romans 9:13 (Malachi 1:2)

He chooses our inheritance for us, The glory of Jacob whom He loves. Selah.

Psalm 47:4

Blessed be the LORD your God who delighted in you to set you on the throne of Israel; because the LORD loved Israel forever, therefore He made you king, to do justice and righteousness.

1 Kings 10:9

When Israel was a youth I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.

Hosea 11:1

The apostle John represents those who are most beloved in that special season as the Bride is being received into the presence of her Bridegroom. John represents those who, at the change of the guard, so to speak, take up the mantle like Elisha did after he witnessed Elijah being taken up in a whirlwind. The name, John, means, “Jehovah is gracious giver.” Certainly the Lord loved and was gracious toward his disciple, John, the brother of James, and it was given to him to model to us the Lord's beloved sons of Israel who number twelve thousand from each tribe.

1 After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree. 2 And I saw another angel ascending from the rising of the sun, having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, 3 saying, “Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads.” 4 And I heard the number of those who were sealed, one hundred and forty-four thousand sealed from every tribe of the sons of Israel: 5 from the tribe of Judah, twelve thousand were sealed, from the tribe of Reuben twelve thousand, from the tribe of Gad twelve thousand, 6 from the tribe of Asher twelve thousand, from the tribe of Naphtali twelve thousand, from the tribe of Manasseh twelve thousand, 7 from the tribe of Simeon twelve thousand, from the tribe of Levi twelve thousand, from the tribe of Issachar twelve thousand, 8 from the tribe of Zebulun twelve thousand, from the tribe of Joseph twelve thousand, from the tribe of Benjamin, twelve thousand were sealed.

Revelation 7:1-8

1 Then I looked, and behold, the Lamb was standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His name and the name of His Father written on their foreheads. 2 And I heard a voice from heaven, like the sound of many waters and like the sound of loud thunder, and the voice which I heard was like the sound of harpists playing on their harps. 3 And they sang a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders; and no one could learn the song except the one hundred and forty-four thousand who had been purchased from the earth. 4 These are the ones who have not been defiled with women, for they have kept themselves chaste. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These have been purchased from among men as first fruits to God and to the Lamb. 5 And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless.

Revelation 14:1-5

These people are described in verse 4 of Revelation 14 as “the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes,” and it is no coincidence that this is what the disciple whom Jesus loved is pictured doing in John 21:20. Let's jump ahead to explore this further.

19b And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me!” 20a Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them;

John 21:19b-20a

This rather cryptic drama expands to reveal how John is a type of a people in the latter days.

19b And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me!” 20 Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” 23 Therefore this saying went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?” 24 This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true.

John 21:19b-24

Indeed, Jesus did not say that this disciple would not die. Historians have testified that this son of Zebedee did indeed die at an advanced age. Yet, those he foreshadows are a people who live in the time of Jesus' return, a beloved people who have been the subject of this chapter's prophetic drama! Without revelation insight into the prophetic role John plays in John 21, who could understand this riddle? This insight about how John pictures the 144,000 sons of Israel has perhaps been reserved for our very time!

Cross Referencing the “Last Supper” in John 13

Did you pick up on how the narrative provides another descriptive identifier for this disciple in addition to his being, the disciple whom Jesus loved? This one is a cross reference, functioning like a big neon arrow that directs us where to find more insight.

Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?”

John 21:20

This points us back to the 13th chapter.

21 When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.” 22 The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking. 23 There was reclining on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24 So Simon Peter gestured to him, and said to him, “Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking.” 25 He, leaning back thus on Jesus’ bosom, said to Him, “Lord, who is it?” 26 Jesus then answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.

John 13:21-26

The cross reference links two passages that address the same time, people and events, which is evident only if your eyes have been opened to see what lies beyond the veil. Without having insight into these roughly parallel prophetic allegories, none of this linking really makes sense, but this link so wonderfully supports the understanding of the esoteric interpretation of both passages!

At the supper, in the exact place where John 21 directs us to discover something relevant, there's another personal interaction between Peter and the disciple we have identified as John. There is the interaction in the fishing boat when John tells Peter, “It's the Lord,” and Peter responds by jumping overboard and going ashore to be with the Lord. Now, comparing to that, at the supper in the upper room, we note how Peter could easily ask the Lord his question directly, but instead (which you have to admit is rather conspicuous), he asks John to ask the Lord his question. Peter is acting strangely here and you should know the reason why, because he's acting out a prophetic drama.

The secret is in how the interactions in both accounts have to do with identification, discerning the Messianic contenders. As we already noted, John's identification of the risen Y'shua as his own Lord is the key to the unfolding drama in the fishing boat. At the supper, the initial key is John's identification of the one who would betray the Lord. The betrayer is an antichrist beast identifier. These instances of Messianic identification are directly related, with one precipitating the other. This is the reason why Peter makes John the intermediary at the supper. It has to do with Peter as the Bride, and the disciple whom Jesus loved as the 144,000, and the betrayer (Judas) as the lawless one. As Peter prompts John to ask the Lord his question, so it is that the Bride will provide a prompt for the 144k. Peter-Bride doesn't ask the Lord directly who the betrayer is because the Bride already knows. Peter must lead John to ask the Lord because the 144,000 need to learn who the betrayer really is - and they really need to get it from the Lord Himself. When 144,000 sons of Israel correctly identify the betrayer they will know that he is the counterfeit messiah. They'll see in the Bride an enviable exhibit of how their Lord is the very God of their own Fathers! John-144k will already know their God intimately, but His messianic identity as Y'shua, the one who had been pierced, will be hidden from them until the appointed time arrives.

If this story line is news to you or the dynamic is unclear, you'll find it all on exhibit in this study, The Sign for the Bride - Part 1 and When Will the Lawless One be Revealed? (The Sign for the Bride - Part 2). At some point, after absorbing what's there, another pass through this study should be very enlightening. I could let it go with that, but this is just such a big deal that it's worthy of more attention!

Additional to those two interactions we've been comparing there is a third, the mysterious one at the close of John 21 where the cross reference is found. The types are consistent, with Peter-as-Bride and John-as-144k, and there is also a contrast that provides us with another perspective for additional insight. Instead of Peter and John interacting directly with each other with regard to the Lord, Peter is interacting with the Lord with regard to John, who appears to be paying attention to that interaction.

19b And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me!” 20 Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” 22 Jesus said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” 23 Therefore this saying went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?” 24 This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true.

John 21:19b-24

What Jesus meant by His puzzling statements about the cryptically identified disciple is resolved in the prophetic interpretation. Jesus was clearly making a point about the time of His coming. It's not that John would not die, but that there are a beloved people who would remain until He comes, and John is the type. There is a continuity, a persisted thread of identity being implied. The prophetic drama has Peter following the Lord and John following behind them. A lesson of the earlier scene is repeated here for redundancy. When Peter was in the fishing boat and he was told by the disciple whom Jesus loved that, “It is the Lord,” he threw himself into the sea, leaving the disciple whom Jesus loved behind in the fishing boat. When Peter-Bride is walking along and following the Lord, you can draw from the previous example to read between the lines and consider how that, when the time comes for his appointed engagement with John-144k, he is removed from the picture, leaving John-144k behind, who continues following the Lord. John-144k had been following Peter-Bride as he followed the Lord, then, when Peter-Bride is removed from the picture, it might be said that Peter-Bride's mantle is picked up by John-144k because he is then following the Lord directly.

The Breakfast of Bread and Fish

We skipped over much of John 21 when we jumped to the end, so let's go back to continue working our way through the account.

7 Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” 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. 8 But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards (rather, “about 200 cubits”) away, dragging the net full of fish. 9 So when they got out on the land, they saw a charcoal fire (rather, “a heap of burning coals”) already laid and fish placed on it, and bread.

John 21:7-9

After Peter jumps overboard and goes ashore to be with the Lord, the others arrive in the boat to join them. The shore is a heavenly realm, and this post-Bride Theft meeting is consistent with the prophetic scenarios of Genesis 44-45 and Acts 12.

The Greek word used for the fish being grilled is, opsarion, meaning, little fish. By expanded definition the scholars note that it refers to what is to be eaten with bread, even as relish or a fish spread for the bread. With fish as men, and Y'shua as the bread of life, the bread from heaven, this grilled fish that is intended to be eaten in connection with bread has nothing to do with cannibalism but suggests rather a special kind of heavenly communion.

Some insight may be gleaned from the miraculous sign of the feeding of the five thousand, which has some notable features in common with this scene on the shore in John 21. The 5000 plus are fed fish and bread on the shore of the Sea of Galilee.

Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He [Jesus] took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds,

John 6:19

This comparison deserves more attention than we're going to give the matter here. If you're reading through, Beyond the Veil, like chapters in a book, a study of that miraculous and prophetic feast next up, addressed at length in, The Feeding of the Five Thousand. The main point I want to make here is that it's a resurrection allegory. After feeding the 5000, John 6 presents an explanation about the bread.

51 I am the living bread that came down out of heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread also which I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.” 52 Then the Jews began to argue with one another, saying, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves. 54 He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

John 6:51-54

You see, the meal has to do with eternal life and being raised up by Him on the last day, which is resurrection, of course! It's that way with the feeding of the 5000 plus with fish and bread on the shore and its that way with the breakfast of grilled fish and bread on the shore. The sun was dawning on a bright resurrection morn!

The scene on the shore in John 21 also speaks to me of the martyrs that John sees in heaven as the Lamb breaks the fifth seal.

9 When the Lamb broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slain because of the word of God, and because of the testimony which they had maintained; 10 and they cried out with a loud voice, saying, “How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” 11 And there was given to each of them a white robe; and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.

Revelation 6:9-11

As little fish for the Bread, grilling on the coals, the souls of those who had been slain were seen underneath the altar. We note that the altar on earth had burning coals.

He shall take a firepan full of coals of fire from upon the altar before the LORD and two handfuls of finely ground sweet incense, and bring it inside the veil.

Leviticus 16:12

They serve at a copy and shadow of the heavenly sanctuary. That is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle, “See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.”

Hebrews 8:5

The burning fire of the altar is linked to a harvest (a symbol like a catch of fish) in Revelation 14.

17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, and he also had a sharp sickle. 18 Then another angel, the one who has power over fire, came out from the altar; and he called with a loud voice to him who had the sharp sickle, saying, “Put in your sharp sickle and gather the clusters from the vine of the earth, because her grapes are ripe.”

Revelation 14:17-18

The souls of those martyred were heard at the opening of the fifth seal crying out for vengeance. They were given white robes and told to rest for a little while longer. The had to wait until the full number of their company was reached, which is implied in the text, and this might be what is pictured when the fish are numbered because some of them are requested by Jesus. Some of the large fish just caught might be presumed to be for grilling as the small fish were.

10 Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish which you have now caught.” 11 Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn.

John 21:10-11

This catch of fish is by far the most widely recognized resurrection symbol in the context, with the 153 large fish that were caught from the right side of the boat representing the righteous who will be harvested from the sea of humanity. You'll find some relevant features of the number 153 in this study titled, The Numbers Seventeen and One Hundred Fifty-Three.

The next verse continues unfolding the prophetic drama.

Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples ventured to question Him, “Who are You?” knowing that it was the Lord.

John 21:12

I believe that reference is made to this meal in other places. It will be a breakfast because it will conclude a long period of fasting for Y'shua, who will not have eaten "this Passover" since the time He ate it with His disciples in the upper room.

15 And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”

Luke 22:15-16

What was said and done at the meal is widely recognized as being a model of a Jewish wedding proposal. The fulfillment of the eating of the Passover in a wedding feast appears to be in view.

The following passage is one that the Lord used to lead me into discovering the mind-boggling Bride Theft scenario in Acts 12, as I tracked the word that is therein translated, watch, finding confirmation that it would actually be in the third watch that the Bridegroom would receive His Bride.

37 Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them. 38 Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves.

Luke 12:37-38

As there were other disciples in the fishing boat who came ashore for the meal, so there will be others who attend the marriage supper or wedding feast.

7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” 8 It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. 9 Then he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he said to me, “These are true words of God.”

Revelation 19:7-9

6 But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.

Matthew 25:6-10

Now, you may have noticed a very peculiar feature in John 21:12.

Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.” None of the disciples ventured to question Him, “Who are You?” knowing that it was the Lord.

John 21:12

The Greek word translated, ventured, in the NASB, is the word, tolmaó, which means, to have courage, to be bold. The HELPS Word-studies offers: “5111 tolmáo (from tolma, "bold courage") – properly, to show daring courage necessary for a valid risk ("putting it all on the line"); courageously venture forward by putting fear behind and embracing the fruit that lies ahead for taking a necessary risk.”

If the disciples knew it was the Lord, why would they need to ask and why would there be risk involved that would require boldness and courage? This oddity flags our attention as we consider the prophetic import. This is placing more emphasis on what has already been emphasized in the account, the matter of correctly identifying the Messiah. What's going on here should seem familiar if you have come to understand the prophetic allegory where the patriarch Joseph reveals himself to his brothers. There's a difference between knowing some unrecognizable Egyptian speaking man who is an authority in Egypt and knowing that the man is actually your own brother. Likewise, the disciples who are left behind when Peter throws himself into the sea know who the Lord is, but they don't know him like Peter, who was aquatinted in a personal and very intimate way. If they had, they would have been accounted as Peter-Bride and not left behind. As the record continues, we're going to see how it is implied that the Lord opens their closed eyes and their closed minds to see and know Him.

This most excellent prophetic drama continues.

Jesus came and took the bread and gave it to them, and the fish likewise.

John 21:13

When the Lord breaks bread and feeds people, it's an idiom that signifies the opening of the eyes of their understanding. Consider the following example where Jesus was recognized in the breaking of the bread.

30 When He had reclined at the table with them, He took the bread and blessed it, and breaking it, He began giving it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. 32 They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” 33 And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them, 34 saying, “The Lord has really risen and has appeared to Simon.” 35 They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread. 36 While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be to you.” 37 But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” 40 And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41 While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” 42 They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; 43 and He took it and ate it before them. 44 Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,

Luke 24:30-45

Compare this account of Y'shua's appearance in his resurrection body with the one in John 21. In Luke 24, the Lord eats BROILED FISH before them, then talks about the fulfillment of PROPHECY and opens their minds to understand the Scriptures. He first breaks bread and as He begins to give it to them their eyes are opened. It's only then that they recognize Him for who He is. In John 21:12, the disciples are confused about their resurrected Lord's identity. In the next verse, Jesus gives them the bread, and the fish likewise. With an understanding of Luke 24 it suggests that He is opening their eyes to recognize him as their resurrected Lord Y'shua and opening their minds to understand the scriptures, to understand about prophecy and its fulfillment. Are your eyes opening to see what glorious insight is before you in this prophetic allegory that is John 21?

The next verse, as John 21 continues, emphasizes the resurrection theme by a means presented in the writing Resurrection on the Third Day. Whenever the third time something happens is mentioned in the biblical narrative, a resurrection scene in the context is being called to our attention. This particular verse is probably the most obvious example of the "third time" resurrection principle!

This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead.

John 21:14

The subject of Y'shua's resurrection is overt, exoteric, plain, and even a central feature of the story. The code phrase, “the third time,” calls out a resurrection in the context that is not overt but rather hidden in the esoteric layer where it may only be seen with the opened eyes and with minds that understand the prophecy and its fulfillment. It's about the catch of fish from the right side of the boat, and alongside that, about Simon Peter throwing himself into the sea to go join His resurrected Lord on the dry land!

The Hidden Time Element

In the 21st chapter of John, the fishing boat's distance from shore is specified - and not for no reason! Something about when the resurrection event happens is concealed and revealed thereby!

But the other disciples came in the little boat, for they were not far from the land, but about one hundred yards away, dragging the net full of fish.

John 21:8

When translators don't mask the text by converting the measurement, the distance is accurately rendered as, “about two hundred cubits.” The metaphor of water as time is used throughout the Bible, as in other esoteric literature. Whenever you read in the Gospels and find some disciples in a boat on the body of water known variously as the Sea of Tiberias or Galilee, it's a symbol of a group of people the Lord is dealing with during the "night watches." Here's one example.

And in the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea.

Matthew 14:25

You do understand about the watches of the night, right? That prophetic scenario is about what happens during the 4th year of the prime Shemitah.

Here's an example where the relative time is revealed by how far the boat is from shore.

Then, when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened.

John 6:19

The text more correctly gives the distance rowed as, “twenty-five or thirty furlongs,” or stadia. This is about halfway across the lake, speaking to me of the time when it's about halfway into the seven year period - possibly in the fourth year. There may also be a level of interpretation where a stadia equates to a month, signifying twenty-five or thirty months into the Shemitah, which is in the 3rd year and a span that comes right up to when the Bride Theft is anticipated.

In John 21, Peter threw himself into the sea when the boat was about two hundred cubits from shore. The Bride Theft and sealing of 144,000 sons of Israel is appointed after two years of the seven, as indicated in the rich prophetic allegories of Genesis 45 and Acts 12. As we read in Luke 12:38, “Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third...” I see agreement in the positioning of the boat, “about two hundred cubits” from shore.

The Love Test - Commissionings and Implied Resurrection

In the verses that follow verse 14, a love test is administered to Peter.

14 This is now the third time that Jesus was manifested to the disciples, after He was raised from the dead. 15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go.” 19 Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God....

John 21:14-19a

This is a very cryptic passage that appears to have several levels of interpretation. It's widely accepted that this cryptic quiz was fulfilled when the apostle Peter died. Many interpreters connect the three rounds of the love quiz with the three rounds of Peter's denial in the season between Gethsemane and Calvary. It's seen as the Lord's provision of a means of redemption, on account of his denials. By this stage of our consideration of John 21, we have learned enough about the esoteric context to recognize the above passage as a prophecy. I believe that what we read in the narrative did apply to the Apostle Peter's life and death (He was martyred, being crucified as His Lord was crucified but rather upside-down, at his request, as the historians tell it, because Peter didn't deem himself worthy of dying in the same way that the Lord did.), and yet, it also applies to a people he represents in type.

When we read the phrase in verse 17, “the third time,” we really must acknowledge that this same code phrase that is used in verse 14 has the same signification here, where it appears twice in one verse. It alerts us to a resurrection in the context. Is there another one that is additional to the instance that's so obviously connected with verse 14? While I can't identify how one might be acted out in the most localized context, resurrection does seem to be implied in a more subtle way, a way that reveals another interpretation of the cryptic love quiz.

About that piercing conversation the Lord is having with Peter, the narrative calls attention to what kind of death he would glorify God, which is a cryptic explanation. If we take that as a clue, with the highlighting of how God is glorified in the way a life is lived at its ending, we see the focus here is on a higher perspective, even what lies beyond death. For the martyr (as for us all), death isn't really the end. Reward comes in the next life, as glory the Lord shares that is wrought through the suffering and loss endured for His sake.

16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 19 For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. 22 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

Romans 8:16-25

The key is in the resurrection. The esoteric context of the puzzling Q and A of John 21:14-19 is all about resurrection and the time when Y'shua comes (verses 22-23). In the love quiz, I see Peter as the church, extending through the entire age, and, very particularly, in the last days as each of the three divisions in sequence. Here's a central concept, the harvest allegory. The harvest of the church happens as the Lord's people are taken out of His harvest field in three stages. The first harvest selectively involves only those who are ripe, so to speak, leaving the rest behind. The second likewise. Finally, the remainder are harvested. The Barley Bride, dead and living, are appointed for harvesting at Hag ha-Matzot. The Wheat Virgins, dead and living, are appointed for harvest about 7 weeks later at Shavuot, or, Hag ha-Katsir, the Festival of Reaping. Years later, the Grape and final crops, dead and living, are harvested at Hag ha-Asif, the Feast of Ingathering. With the three rounds of the love quiz corresponding to these seasons of harvest, resurrection is implicit. It seems to me that this is what the resurrection signaling code phrase in the context is calling to our attention. One of the revelation insights I've had over the years involves this model as it was demonstrated in the garden of Gethsemane, in that charged emotional situation when Y'shua went to pray about the cup being removed from him. He separated the company into three divisions. The insight I received about those divisions was about the dividings of the church through selective resurrection. (See The Testimony of Gethsemane - Part 1 (The Mount of Olives))

When the Lord addresses Simon Peter as Simon, son of John, and asks him if he loves Him, He gives him direction. In Genesis 45, at the time of the Bride Theft, the Bride and 144,000 sons of Israel are likewise given a mission. In Acts 12, immediately after the Bride Theft is signaled, Peter-Bride commissions those friends who had assembled in (the new) Jerusalem. In John 21, more layered prophetic allegory presents the Bride Theft, and following that, Peter is commissioned, with John following along. It's consistent. The three phase love quiz and giving of commands about caring for the Lord's people speaks to me about the times of the resurrections and how the Lord subsequently deals with his people.

Here is a table showing some differences and similarities in the wording of the questions and commands.


Jesus asks Peter replies Jesus directs
first time (v. 15) agapas - do you love philo - that I love boske - to him, "Tend arnia - My lambs."
second time (v. 16) agapas - do you love philo - that I love poimaine - to him, "Shepherd probatia - My sheep."
third time (v. 17) phileis - do you love philo - that I love boske - to him, "Tend probatia - My sheep."

In earlier editions I went into some deeper explorations based on the differences in the meanings of the words. That doesn't seem necessary in this season's edition.

I close this lengthy study with the last verse of John 21. There's probably much, much more still here to be discovered.

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written.

John 21:25