Signs in John
Jun 05, 2006
Since the last weblog gave such a brief summary of the signs in John in order to focus upon the two middle signs, I thought it would be helpful to share a little about the first and the eighth sign as well. This will give you some idea how these signs prophesy in regard to the feast of Tabernacles.
The first sign is found in John 2:1-10 and shows how Jesus turned the water into wine. This is the pattern-setter, and it establishes that "we shall all be changed in the atoms" (1 Cor. 15:51, 52). Jesus had been invited to a wedding feast, and during that feast, they ran out of wine. Jesus told them to fill six water pots with water. Six is the number of man, and it is well known that, biologically speaking, we are about 76 percent water.
When they served the water, it had been transformed into new wine. It appeared to the guests that the host had saved the best for last. Of course, the original was the wine of Pentecost; the last was that of Tabernacles. But the purpose of this transformation is that others may drink of the new wine (divine nature; Holy Spirit) from us and be satisfied. The purpose of Pentecost was to empower the disciples to preach the gospel to the whole world with signs following. The purpose of Tabernacles is the same, but in greater measure, and we will be able to complete the Great Commission that was begun with Pentecost.
This first sign correlates with the eighth sign that is found in John 21:1-11. The disciples had been unable to catch any fish over night. Jesus showed up in the morning and told them to cast their nets out on the right side of the boat. They did so, and caught 153 large fish. This number indicates the "sons of God," as I have explained in a recent weblog.
This eighth sign is unique because it comes after Jesus' resurrection. This indicates that the manifestation of the sons of God will follow the resurrection of the dead, because the order of the feasts is first Trumpets and then Tabernacles. The sign also speaks of the Great Commission, gathering the sons of God by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thus, it correlates with the first sign, in which Jesus transformed water into wine for the purpose of bringing the Spirit to others.
There is also another interesting connection that involves the number 153. Even as John 21:11 specifically mentions this number, it forms the backdrop of the first sign as well. Jesus turned 153 gallons of water into wine. How do we know? John 2:6 says,
"And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece."
A "firkin" was a liquid measure in those days, the equivalent of 10.2 American gallons, or 8.5 Imperial gallons (British).
John tells us that these six waterpots contained "two or three firkins apiece." If we assume that the six waterpots averaged 2.5 firkins apiece, then they contained a total of 15 firkins (2.5 x 6 = 15). Fifteen firkins times 10.2 gal. apiece comes to precisely 153 gallons.
If we go by the British system, and assume that these six waterpots held 3 firkins apiece (when filled to the brim), it still comes out to 153 gallons. Six waterpots times 3 firkins apiece comes to a total of 18 firkins. Multiply 18 firkins times 8.5 gallons per firkin, and we get 153 once again.
Not only does this connect the first sign in John with the eighth, it also shows that God knew about both the American and British gallons from the beginning. It is another example of the sovereignty of God.
Overall, this teaches us that when Pentecost runs out of wine, or is forced to admit to this fact of life, then Jesus will fill the need with a greater measure of the Holy Spirit through the feast of Tabernacles.
Or, to put it another way, the disciples in the boat were unable to bring in the manifestation of the sons of God by fishing on the left side of the boat. The left side indicates judgment and condemnation. Jesus said to cast their nets on the right side of the boat. The right side indicates the gospel of grace and mercy. This is what brought in the 153 large (mature) fish.
Throughout the Pentecostal Age, men have been trying to bring forth sons of God by means of condemnation and intimidation and by forcible conversions. Often, this has only succeeded in converting people to religion, rather than giving them a genuine relationship with God, which is absolutely necessary to bring forth mature sons.
Insofar as timing is concerned, John 2:1 says the marriage feast occurred "the third day." The Bible tells us that a day is as a thousand years. On the evening of Sept. 11, 1999, which was the feast of trumpets, we celebrated Jesus' 2000th birthday at Port Austin, Michigan. Some of you may recall seeing the full-page ad in the USA Today advertising this, which a friend was led to purchase.
Since 1999 we have been in the beginning of the third day from Jesus' birth. Since then, world events have begun to bring the age to a climactic end. I believe that the troubles we are witnessing today in the world are the birth pangs of the Age of Tabernacles.