Joseph Herrin (03-22-2011)
In the autobiographical book Evidence of Things Unseen, I wrote of having my eyes opened years ago to perceive the presence of God all around me. One of the blessings I have received through the years as I have shared the messages Yahweh hides in plain site before the eyes of all creation, is that a number of saints have gained an awareness of the manifold ways in which God speaks. People write to me regularly to tell me of signs they are observing, and significant details of their lives that they formerly would have not given a second thought unto.
Quite often, observing the presence of God around us, and perceiving that messages are being spoken, can be a frustrating experience. Many times we perceive that something is symbolic, and pregnant with meaning, but we are unsure of the specific message the Father is wishing to convey to us.
We should not doubt the signs around us simply because we do not have clarity of understanding. Such an experience is common among the church. Yahweh often speaks in ways that are difficult for men, even Christian men, to understand. When Christ was on the earth He spoke in parables. In doing so, He intentionally cloaked His meaning. The reason He did so was so that those who were granted the right to understand would perceive the message, while all others would not.
And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, so that ‘Seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand…”
Despite the fact that Yahshua intended for His disciples to understand the meaning of the parables He spoke, they were often slow to comprehend. The same is true for the disciples of Christ today. Oftentimes in the Scriptures we find Christ going aside with His disciples and explaining the meaning of the parables to them. It is the will of God that we spend time “aside” with His Son in this hour as well. It is necessary to often sit at Christ’s feet, and tarry before Him, looking to Him to reveal hidden things to us.
This is true not only when we perceive the Father to be speaking through some event, or detail in this natural world. Understanding is needed when there are tongues, dreams, visions, and prophecies. Such things are not always immediately understood. We have to tarry before the Father to discern their meaning.
The times in which I do not perceive the Father to be speaking through the world around me are fairly rare now. However, there are times when the messages seem to be coming with a rapidity and intensity that is unusual. Recently I have been in one of these heightened periods of perceiving the Father to be speaking through a multitude of signs around me. As you will see in this post, some of these messages come from literal signs such as road signs. I suppose our Father knows I am a bit dull of comprehension, so He has to make it clear by saying “Look here son. This is a sign. Please pay attention.”
Many of those who read this blog know that the Father has been speaking through very specific numbers. One of the most symbolic numbers that has been being emphasized by the Father is 153. This number occurs only once in Scripture. It is found at the third appearance of Christ to His disciples after His resurrection.
John 21:11, 14
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… This is now the third time Yahshua showed Himself to His disciples after He was raised from the dead.
In February of 2008, the Father called me to leave the rescue mission where I had been living and working the previous three years, and to enter once more into a full-time ministry of writing and teaching. One of the first things I did was to take some time alone to be with the Father to receive from Him an understanding of the character of the ministry He was calling me to. I was not disappointed. The Father began speaking to me very clearly and specifically. I started the Parables Blog at that time, and my first writings shared those things the Father was revealing to me.
Explorers and Pioneers to Serve as Guides – Part 1-2
Joseph – Preparing the Body for Burial
The Third Appearance of Christ
All of these posts reveal various aspects of the ministry and work of God among His people in this hour. The last one listed above contained revelations from the account of the 153 fish, things which I had never seen before. I encourage you to read the post if you want a fuller understanding, but I will summarize certain key points here.
Seven disciples, with Peter leading them, decided to go fishing. This was during the period of time between Christ’s resurrection and His ascension, a period of 40 days (another very significant number). The disciples had toiled all night and had caught nothing. In the morning they saw Yahshua on the shore, but they did not know it was Him. Yahshua had a fire of coals and some fish over the coals, and some bread.
Christ asks the men if they have caught any fish. They respond that they have not. He tells them to cast the net on the right side of the boat and they will catch some. The right side signifies the righteous. The disciples obey, and they encompass so many fish that they cannot pull the nets in.
John, the beloved disciple, is the first to recognize that it is Yahshua speaking to them, and he declares this to the others. Peter, on hearing it is the Lord, puts on his outer garment and casts himself into the sea. He is eager to speak to the Lord, but seeing his friends struggling with the nets, he returns to help them pull the nets ashore. They count 153 large fish, and even with so great a catch, the nets are not torn.
Some of the key lessons from this event are as follows:
● There is a specific number appointed for salvation.
● Of all those appointed for salvation, Christ desires that none be lost.
● Christ instructs the disciples to bring some of the fish to place in the fire. In this we discern that there is a fiery work to be accomplished among God’s people at the end of the age.
● Even when the disciples have come ashore, there is yet some question about the Lord’s identity. This indicates that during this late work, a fiery work, many will not recognize that it is Christ performing the work. A great many Christians today have been deceived into thinking they need not suffer, or experience fiery trials. These will certainly balk at the revelation that such experiences are Christ’s will for His saints.
● It was at this encounter that Christ asked Peter three times if he loved Him, and instructed Peter to “Feed My sheep!”
● Christ also declared a profound parable when He said the following to Peter:
“Most assuredly, I say to you, when you were younger, you girded yourself and walked where you wished; but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will gird you and carry you where you do not wish.” This He spoke, signifying by what death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me.”
There is a universal parable contained in these words of Christ to Peter. When we were young, immature Christians, we walked according to the direction of our soul. We dressed ourselves how we wished, and we went wherever we desired. However, in order to come to maturity we must embrace the cross. We must surrender to go where we would not choose to go ourselves. We must follow Christ, living a life surrendered to the leading of the Spirit. As we do so, there will be fiery trials through which we will be led for our perfecting as sons, but Christ will walk with us all the way.
For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake…
“Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.”
Before I show you some of the signs I have been encountering, I want to share an excerpt from the writing above that speaks of the significance of the numbers 17 and 153.
The number 153 is related in many ways to the number seventeen. 153 is divisible by 17, being the product of 17 and 9. If you add up each of the numbers between 1 and 17, their total comes to 153. 17 is a number of perfection, being the sum of two perfect numbers, 10 and 7. 10 is a number denoting ordinal perfection and 7 is a number denoting divine perfection.
E.W. Bullinger, in his book Number in Scripture, declares that the number 17, being the sum of 10 and 7 denotes “the perfection of divine order.” This is the goal toward which the Father’s works are aimed. He has been laboring to bring forth perfect order out of that which is “formless and void.” This work must come to maturity now at the end of this age. In an hour when the world is growing increasingly dark and chaotic, there will be a remnant, a chosen people, a firstfruits group, who will be perfected through fire.
As the Father has sent me out across the nation the past several years, I have encountered repeated testimonies that it is the people signified by the 153 who are the focus of His attention at this late hour. In 2008 I was sent to Fort Wayne. There I met a brother in Christ whose last name is Fish (I am not lying). On my way to meet him for the first time, I got behind a van that had the following license plate.
The letters following the 153 were the same letters that are in his e-mail address. I do not doubt that there was symbolism that this sign was on a vehicle called “Odyssey.” The word odyssey speaks of “a long, eventful journey.” Truly, there is such a path set before all who would be overcomers in Christ.
In 2009 and 2010 I was once again sent out across the nation to speak to a remnant of Christ’s saints. Over and over, the Father set before me testimonies that He was leading me to those who were called to be caught in His net, and to be brought to Christ. Perhaps this is not a completely welcome thought for some, for Christ was putting the fish in the fire. It is a difficult message I have been called to proclaim, for it is the message of the cross, of self-denial, and surrender of one’s life to the direction of the Holy Spirit. There are few who have ears to hear such a message today, but all who are willing to follow will be given exceptional grace. Like Joseph of old, who knew hardship and sorrow while his brothers were living soulishly directed lives, those who accept the Father’s invitation to this odyssey will be promoted in the end.
Note that this leg of my trip began at KINGMAN (in the Arizona desert). I took I-40 (trials, tests) to I-15 (5+5+5: fulness of grace) and got off the Interstate at exit 153A at VICTORVILLE. Only the Father could plan such things.
Over and over the Father has been emphasizing this number, and relating it to fishing, and to the saints. At each of these places where these numbers were present, the Father directed me to share a message of embracing that afflicted path that leads to life, of which we are told “Few there are who find it.”
Upon arriving back in Georgia after my trip last Summer and Fall, the Father directed me to convert a bus into a motorhome. When I had purchased the bus the year before the Father had referred to it as an ark. Just about two miles from the residence where I bought the bus, I stopped for a break at a convenience store. I was asking the Father for confirmation of His will. Directly in front of where I pulled up was the following image.
The dove is a symbol forever linked to the story of Noah’s ark. The Bus the Father led me to purchase has a manufacturer’s label at the front door. It says “Body by Carpenter.” As I have shared previously, this vehicle began service as a school bus. Later it was used by two different churches for transport. Then it was sold to a man who used it to attend NASCAR races. Now, at last, it has been converted to a mobile habitation.
When I purchased the bus it had the words “Church Bus” painted on the back, and “NASCAR” painted on the front. It had racing numbers painted along its sides, as well as the cross and flame symbol of the Methodist Church. In this we see a parable of the church. It too is a body by THE Carpenter. Yet it has largely abandoned its call to teach truth, and has become an entertainment platform. At the end of this age, the Father has determined that it must become a fit habitation for His Spirit.
On January 1st of this year, I was led to move into the bus. I drove it 40 miles to its present location at an RV park in Perry, GA. I have no doubt that this is where the Father wanted me to park. Having observed so many testimonies affirming this, I know there is an important message being proclaimed.
The campground God directed me to has 153 campsites.
I am parked in the section of the campground that the sign pictured above points to. As I mentioned, the number 153 is linked to the number 17. Throughout the campground there are speed limit signs. Guess what the speed limit is?
This image is not doctored, or Photoshopped. This is the actual speed limit posted at the campground. Here is another one.
This past week, I received a book that a sister in Christ recommended to me. It is titled The Pattern and the Prophecy, by James Harrison. The author was a mathematician, and he wrote the book to share some of the phenomenal mathematical patterns and properties of the Bible. In the book he spends considerable time writing about the numbers 17 and 153. Let me share with you some of their amazing properties.
The entire creation is stamped with the number three, for this number is related to God’s nature. God is triune, being Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In mathematics, there are numbers that are described as “triangle numbers.” Following is a graphical depiction of some triangle numbers.
When arranging objects in a perfect equilateral triangle, the sum of the objects are a Triangle Number. The number 153 is not only a triangular number. It is the 17th triangular number.
Note that there are exactly 17 courses of numbers, and they add up to 153. If you look at the number to the far right of each row, you will find the value of all the triangle numbers. For example:
Approximately 4% of the first 1,000 numbers are triangle numbers. 666, is also a triangle number. It is the 36th (6×6) triangle number.
As I was reading through this book, the author introduced what he calls “The Trinity Root Function.” This function reveals that any number that is a multiple of 3 will eventually terminate at the number 153 if you continually add up the sum of its digits after they are cubed. This is a little complicated to follow when it is written out, but it is actually fairly simple to observe when it is displayed mathematically.
For instance, the number 12 is divisible by 3, so it would satisfy the basic criteria.
The individual digits that make up 12 are 1 and 2. If we cube each digit we get the following:
1x1x1 + 2x2x2 = 9
The number 1 cubed is 1. To cube a number is to multiply it by itself three times.
The number 2 cubed is 8.
Adding them together we get 9.
If we take 9 and cube it, we get:
If we take these digits and cube them we get:
7x7x7 (343) + 2x2x2 (8) + 9x9x9 (729)=1080
If we take these digits and cube them we get:
1x1x1 (1) + 0x0x0 (o) + 8x8x8 (512) + 0x0x0 (0)= 513
If we take these digits and cube them we get:
5x5x5 (125) + 1x1x1 (1) + 3x3x3 (27)= 153
The series ends here, for if you take the digits from 153 and cube them you still end up with the same number.
1x1x1 (1) + 5x5x5 (125) + 3x3x3 (27)=153
This will work with any number that is divisible by three. When their individual digits are cubed and summed, they will eventually all end at 153.
What does this indicate spiritually? Well, one thing that comes to mind is that this function works only with numbers divisible by three. Every third number, or one third of all numbers, are divisible by three. Therefore, one third of all numbers whose individual digits are raised to the third power will eventually end up at 153 when summed together.
Being raised to the third power speaks of resurrection. God is a trinity, therefore this speaks of being raised up to where He resides. Paul spoke of being “caught up” (raised) to the third heaven where he heard unutterable things that a man is not permitted to speak (II Corinthians 12:2-4).
The Scriptures speak of God bringing a third part of His people through the fire.
And it shall come to pass in all the land,” Says Yahweh, “That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, but one-third shall be left in it: I will bring the one-third through the fire, will refine them as silver is refined, and test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; And each one will say, ‘Yahweh is my God.'”
This is the same work we see Christ performing in the form of a parable at His THIRD appearing. He is taking fish (153 of them), which are symbolic of the saints, and putting them in the fire. The reason He is doing so is that they might be raised up to live with Him in heavenly places.
“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”
Christ is the pattern. Did He go through the fire? Yes He did.
“I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how constrained I am till it is accomplished!”
Paul went through the fire and he was caught up to the third heaven. If we desire to ascend to sit with Christ on His throne, then we too must go through the fire. We are that earth that Christ has come to cast fire upon. Our bodies were made of the dust of the earth. This fire is not for our destruction, but for our purification. We are to be refined by fire.
“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like launderers’ soap. He will sit as a refiner and a purifier of silver…”
I Peter 1:6-7
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Yahshua Christ…
People of God, it is no more popular for me to preach a message of fiery judgment and tribulation at this hour than it was for Noah to proclaim the coming judgment of God in his day. Who believed Noah’s report? Yet we are told he was a preacher of righteousness (II Peter 2:5).
I know God is having me proclaim a message that only a remnant have ears to hear. Even for those who have a heart after God, it is a difficult message to bear. Was it not hard for Peter to hear the Lord prophesy to him that he would not be able to escape the cross? Yet, Christ loved Peter. This experience was not for his destruction, but rather for his perfection. In the book of Revelation we read:
“Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night. And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death.”
Let me make this very practical. There are many Christians that believe they could surrender their life as a martyr if they were brought to the test. However, Christ is not asking us to be willing to end our life as a martyr, He is asking us to LIVE our life as a martyr.
“You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses (Greek martus: martyrs) both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Christ is not asking the saints to be willing to be willing to one day die for Him. He requires that all disciples take up their cross DAILY. Paul testified, “I die daily.”
As I speak to Christians across the nation I am met with a mindset that is waiting for something to happen in the nation, or the world, that will result in persecution and suffering for the saints. They want to be ready to stand in that hour.
People of God, such a mindset is far from the thoughts of Yahweh. There is no need to wait for persecution to come. Persecution is the present experience of all who will live a life surrendered to the Spirit of Christ. Do you really believe you can walk by the Spirit in the midst of a perverse, materialistic, and sensual society such as America, and not experience rejection, ridicule and persecution? The reason the saints are not experiencing these things is that they have not surrendered their lives to be led of Christ’s Spirit.
II Timothy 3:12
Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
Christ said He came to cast fire on the earth. What type of fiery trials might you anticipate? Where is the pain and suffering to be experienced? Christ revealed it in the passage we read above. Immediately after declaring that He came to cast fire upon the earth, He said:
Do you suppose that I came to give peace on earth? I tell you, not at all, but rather division. For from now on five in one house will be divided: three against two, and two against three. Father will be divided against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
I can tell you that the most grievous experiences of the past 12 years of walking after the leading of the Spirit have been to have family members turn against me. While I was walking after the pattern of the world, laboring to acquire houses and lands and vehicles and material possessions, I had much fellowship with the members of my immediate and extended family. When I heeded the call of Christ to sell all, and follow Him, then the sword of division fell.
I have regularly had brothers and sisters in Christ write to me and express reluctance to follow Christ with a wholehearted abandonment. They look at their spouse, and children, brothers, sisters, and parents, and they discern that these ones would not be willing to walk a difficult path. They reason, “surely the Lord would never ask of them more than they are able to bear.” Yet, it is not that their loved ones are unable to bear it. It is that they are unwilling to do so. God will provide abundant grace to all who are willing to obey. He has testified that He will take the lame and the blind and lead them to Zion. He is a compassionate Shepherd. He knows how to bring the weakest members of the flock to their intended destination.
The saints are experiencing that very thing that the disciples did when they saw Christ on the beach with fish in the fire. In their hearts they knew it was the Lord doing this, yet there was some doubt.
Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, “Who are You?” – knowing that it was the Lord.
Are not the saints experiencing the same today? They say, “Surely it cannot be the Lord urging me to this fiery course. I must be mistaken.” But then the Lord takes us aside like Peter and says, “When you were young you clothed yourself and walked where you would. But when you are old you will stretch out your hands and be led where you do not want to go.”
There is a narrow gate and an afflicted path that leads to life. We are mistaken if we believe that all our family members will walk this path with us. Yahweh has testified:
I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.
Some may argue that Noah was able to take his entire family with him on the ark. We live in a different hour. Of this day it is prophesied:
The word of Yahweh came again to me, saying: “Son of man, when a land sins against Me by persistent unfaithfulness, I will stretch out My hand against it; I will cut off its supply of bread, send famine on it, and cut off man and beast from it. Even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness,” says Yahweh God. “If I cause wild beasts to pass through the land, and they empty it, and make it so desolate that no man may pass through because of the beasts, even though these three men were in it, as I live,” says Yahweh God, “they would deliver neither sons nor daughters; only they would be delivered, and the land would be desolate. Or if I bring a sword on that land, and say, ‘Sword, go through the land,’ and I cut off man and beast from it, even though these three men were in it, as I live,” says Yahweh God, “they would deliver neither sons nor daughters, but only they themselves would be delivered. Or if I send a pestilence into that land and pour out My fury on it in blood, and cut off from it man and beast, even though Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, as I live,” says Yahweh God, “they would deliver neither son nor daughter; they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness.”
Today, if you hear the voice of God calling you to take up your cross and follow Christ, do not hesitate to do so because your family members are unwilling. Perhaps there will be one who will observe your example and be encouraged to pay the cost. But if you refuse to take up the cross, will they not also be encouraged to forsake that afflicted path that leads to life?
The news of late has been filled with reports of fires in the nuclear plants damaged by the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. There is fear that the fires may release radioactive material. There is no fire quite like a nuclear fire.
The Spirit is also testifying that there are fiery trials that the people of God must pass through. God said there will only be two groups of people in these days. There will be those who perish, being cut off from the earth. There will also be those whom He brings through the fire. These are the only two options.
Seeing that we must go through the fire, or perish, would you not rather walk with the Lord through the fire? He is tender and compassionate. He will comfort the afflicted, and strengthen those whose hearts are weak.
The signs I am continually seeing are testifying that the time is upon the people of God to come to Christ and surrender to Him. Like Thomas, let our confession be:
Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with Him.”
May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.
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