The 153 Fish
Transparent 6lue, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
The 153 Fish Video Part 1
The 153 Fish Video Part 2
After his resurrection Jesus appeared to his disciples at the Sea of Galilee. They were fishing and he told them to bring to land the fish they had caught. In their net were 153 fish.
[Jhn 21:11 KJV] 11 Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land full of great fishes, an hundred and fifty and three: and for all there were so many, yet was not the net broken.
No explanation is given of this number but I believe the 153 fish represent the nations of the world. After all, when Jesus originally called Simon (Peter) and Andrew he told them to follow him and he would make them fishers of men (Matthew 4:19).
The disciples see Jesus on the shore. Internet Archive Book Images, No restrictions, via Wikimedia Commons
Genesis Chapter 10 gives what is known as the “Table of Nations”. This is a list of all the nations of the world descended from Noah. Noah had three sons; Shem, Ham and Japheth. All the nations were descended from these three and there are seventy nations in all. The main historians giving us information on these nations are Josephus and Herodotus
Firstly, the sons of Japheth. Fourteen nations who Josephus tells us went on to colonise the area we know as Europe. The Japhetic nations gradually spread out through the European region. Noah blessed Japheth and said he would be enlarged.
[Gen 9:27 KJV] 27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
The Japhetic peoples are the ones who have spread out all over the world. The next table lists them.
Shem, Ham and Japheth. James Tissot, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
The Japhetic Nations
Shem and Japheth cover their father’s nakedness. After Clément Pierre Marillier, via Wikimedia Commons.
The next group of nations are the sons of Shem and there are twenty six of them. Shem also received a blessing from Noah.
[Gen 9:26 KJV] 26 And he said, Blessed [be] the LORD God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
The words Semite and Semitic come from the word Shem. The Semitic nations inhabited the Middle East and Arabia. The next table gives the names of these nations. One line in particular led from Japheth’s son Arphaxad down through Salah to someone called Eber. This man is the person from whom we get the word “Hebrew”, He had two sons, Peleg and Joktan. Peleg was the progenitor of the Hebrew people and the bible says in his day the earth was divided (Genesis 10:25), possibly referring to the division of the nations at the Tower of Babel. Joktan was the progenitor of the Arab nations. We can see in the table other progenitors of nations such as; Aram, the founder of the Arameans, Arphaxad the founder of the Chaldeans and Asshur founder of the Assyrians.
The Semitic Nations
Noah curses Ham. Gustave Doré, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
The third son is Ham. From him came thirty nations. One of Ham’s sons was Canaan. Ham saw his father Noah drunk and naked and told his brothers about it. The bible simply says he saw his father’s nakedness.
[Gen 9:22 KJV] 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
It’s not clear exactly what happened but the event caused Noah to curse Canaan, Ham’s son. Leviticus 20:11 says that a man who lies with his father’s wife uncovers his nakedness. Something more may have happened than the text tells us. There is also no explanation of why Canaan was cursed rather than Ham. At least it meant that just Canaan’s descendants were cursed rather than all Ham’s descendants.
[Gen 9:22, 25 KJV] 22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. ... 25 And he said, Cursed [be] Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
The Hamitic Nations
It is interesting to note that the nations numbered from 19 to 30 are all the Canaanite tribes. In other words they are the tribes under the curse of Noah. These tribes were the ones that were the most wicked and were the ones that had to be displaced by the Israelites. However it is also worth noting that although some nations seemed to be more disposed to evil they could still produce righteous individuals . For example, nation number 21, Heth, known as the Hittites, were an extremely violent and ruthless nation but also produced Uriah the Hittite, a loyal soldier of King David and listed among his mighty men. David, from a righteous nation, acted in an evil way and had Uriah, from an evil nation, murdered. This just shows that whatever background an individual comes from, good or bad, they are still responsible for their own actions regardless of their background. Ezekiel chapter 18 makes this very clear. Each individual soul is responsible for its own destiny.
The death of Uriah the Hittite. Paul Hardy, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
The next group of nations are the children of Abraham. The bible says that Abraham had children with three different women. Firstly he had a son called Ishmael with Hagar who was the handmaiden of his wife Sarah. This was an act of disobedience because Abraham did not believe that God could provide him a son through his wife Sarah. After this Sarah did have a son who was called Isaac. After Sarah’s death Abraham got married again to a woman called Keturah and had several sons with her.
It’s important to remember that Isaac was the son promised to Abraham by God. The other children were not children of the promise.
Abraham embraces Isaac. Otto Adolph Stemler (1872–1953), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
So Abraham had descendants through his first son Ishmael. He also had descendants through his son by Sarah, Isaac. Isaac had two sons himself. Jacob and Esau. Jacob’s children went on to become the tribes of Israel. Esau’s children intermarried with Canaanites and became Edomites.
Abraham also had descendants through his third wife/concubine, Keturah. 16 families of nations came from Keturah.
Esau and the Mess of Pottage.Jan Victors, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Encampment in the desert with Mount Seir in the distance, via Wikimedia Commons.
Seir the Horite
The final group of nations are the descendants of Seir the Horite listed in Genesis, chapter 36. Seir was a Canaanite. The Canaanites were the original inhabitants of Edom, the land later taken over by Esau. Esau and his sons intermarried with the Canaanite women, much to the grief of Esau’s parents, Isaac and Rebekah who were Israelites. Through this intermarriage Seir’s descendants became nations but not Godly nations.
The next two charts are an attempt to illustrate where all the 153 nations came from
Judgement of the sheep and goat nations. Rijksmuseum, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
The previous chart shows all the families. However 12 of the 30 families of Ham were of the cursed line of Canaan. The 13 families of Hagar were a result of Abraham not believing God's promise to him. The 26 families of Seir were a result of Canaanites intermarrying with Esau's family line. Together these add up to 51 goat nations, one third of the entire total of nations. The other two thirds, 102 nations, are sheep nations.
The Goat nations will not survive the judgement of Matthew 25 but that does not mean individuals from these nations cannot be saved. I have already mentioned Uriah the Hittite. Another example is the Gibeonites who were Hivites. The Hivites were a Canaanite tribe, probably from the same tribe as the Horites. The Gibeonites managed to escape the judgement of God on other Canaanite tribes and became servants of the Israelites.
The two thirds to one third ratio occurs elsewhere in the bible. One third of the angels rebelled against God and followed Satan according to Revelation chapter 12. Also if you go through the kings of Judah from time when Solomon’s temple was completed (the high point of Israel) to the time when Israel were taken into captivity in Babylon there were 131.5 years when wicked kings ruled and 263 years when righteous kings ruled. An exact one third to two thirds ratio.
This has been a quick overview of a vast subject but the most important point is this last one.
God has decided the time and place where every human being will live.
[Act 17:26 KJV] 26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
All 153 nations will be judged by God. Some nations will be destroyed by God and some will continue. Every person on earth belongs to one of these nations. There will be a separate judgement for all individuals.
However there is one people I have not mentioned. This are the people known as “Christians”.
The Earth. NASA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
[1Pe 2:9 KJV] 9 But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
Whatever nation you were born into you become part of a new nation, a holy nation, when you personally accept Jesus Christ as you Lord and Saviour. This is God’s plan for everyone who can accept it.
I have added some extra tables to show how I have numbered the nations related to Abraham and Seir
Nations Descended from Esau
Nations Descended From Jacob. Israelites
Nations Descended from Ismael
Nations Descended From Abraham and Keturah
Nations Descended From Seir the Horite