John Tng (10 June 2003)
"John 21 & the Bible Wheel"

Richard documented the correspondence between the 21 chapters of John's gospel and the 21 Hebrew letters in this article:

I believe his research is valid and I would like to show the correspondence between John 21 and Shin -- the 21st Hebrew letter. The literal meaning of Shin is tooth, which has everything to do with food and eating.

At the opening scene of John 21, the disciples went fishing the whole night at the sea of Tiberias and caught nothing. Jesus appeared to them the next morning standing by the shore, and the first sentence that came out of the mouth of the Lord was, "Children, have ye any meat?" Jesus was looking for something to eat for breakfast!

Jesus' second sentence directed the disciples to the miraculous catch of 153 fish, "Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find." The third time the Lord spoke He was thinking of eating the fish, "Bring of the fish which ye have now caught." When breakfast was ready, the Lord invited the disciples to "come and dine" -- His fourth sentence. Besides fish, they ate bread too.

"So when they had dined," with bits of residual food still in their mouths,  Jesus proceeded to commission Peter to "feed His lambs"! For emphasis, Jesus said it three times to ensure Peter get the message and sink it in his mind.

What then is the significance of Shin (tooth) in relation to food and eating?

We need more clues. How about clues from the Gospel of John, itself a Spoke 21 book? (The three Spoke 21 books are: Ecclesiastes, Gospel of John and Jude.) I have shown that food and eating is pretty prominent in John chapter 21. How about the entire gospel of John? Can we associate this gospel in some ways to food and eating? Yes, we can!

Jesus said in John 6:53, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." First, this scripture on eating the flesh of Jesus is unique among the gospels. John went into great length about eating His flesh and drinking His blood in chapter six whereas  in the Synoptic gospels the Lord only spoke briefly on eating His body at the Last Supper. For example, we read in Matthew and Mark this brief command: "Take, eat; this is my body." In contrast, Jesus expounded on this subject of eating His flesh and drinking His blood  in John chapter 6.

Consider this fact: The words 'eat' and 'eateth' occur 11 times and 4 times respectively in John chapter 6 alone, making it the most prominent chapter on eating in the New Testament! Some of these scriptures are shown below:

"Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead." John 6:49

"This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die." John 6:50

"I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world." John 6:51

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." John 6:53

"Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:54

"He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him." John 6:56

"This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever." John 6:58

Without question, the Gospel of John majors on the theme of eternal life. The stuff that Jesus commanded Peter to feed His lambs with is the stuff of eternal life. Indeed, in John chapter 6 verse 68, Peter confessed, "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." Certainly, Peter obeyed admirably the Lord's command in feeding His lambs as evidenced in his own words, "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:" 1 Peter 2:2. The Apostle Peter fed the lambs with the sincere milk of the word.

We now have a picture of feeding and feasting that is associated with the 21st Hebrew letter, Shin, as can be seen from the Gospel of John, a Spoke 21 book. The feeding theme naturally becomes quite pronounced in John 21 -- chapter 21 of a Spoke 21 book -- with Jesus repeating His command three times to Peter -- "Feed My lambs." Furthermore, there is an eternal dimension to this feeding and feasting, for we "shall never hunger" and "shall never thirst". John 6:35

We also have witness from the Book of Ecclesiastes, the 21st book of the Bible. As we know, Ecclesiastes speaks of the vanity of earthly life and labor under the sun. Yet, there is a surprising truth that is hidden in this seemingly depressing book. The truth of the matter as preached by the Preacher is this: EAT TO LIVE & LIVE TO EAT!

All of us eat to live for survival. The converse 'live to eat' suggests an epicurean lifestyle. But, is that not what life in heaven all about -- the enjoyment and celebration of life and bounty in the Presence of the Father of lights, who gives good and perfect gifts to His children? We shall 'live to eat' in Paradise enjoying the fruits from the Tree of Life, but we shall also 'eat to live' in order to live forever (Gen 3:22).

The following combination of words only occur in Ecclesiastes among the 66 books of the Bible, thus proving its association with the Hebrew letter, Shin, which literally means tooth.
Combination of words Scriptural reference in Ecclesiastes
'vanity' & 'sun' 1:14, 2:11, 2:17, 2:19, 4:7, 9:9
'labour' & 'sun' 1:3, 2:11, 2:18, 2:19, 2:20, 2:22, 5:18, 8:15, 8:17, 9:9
'vanity' & 'labour' & 'sun' 2:11, 2:19, 9:9

The above table simply establishes that Ecclesiastes is about vanity of earthly life and labor under the sun. The Preacher seems to advocate eat, drink and be merry since life is meaningless and a chasing after the wind. This attitude makes sense IF life is transient and there is no life after death. The best philosophy under such a circumstance is to eat, drink and be merry since there is no heaven nor hell and a person only lives once.  While this appears to be his thesis in his book, however, he concluded at the end of the book that we should "fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."

The hidden truth in Ecclesiastes is this: We shall eat, drink and be merry and enjoy the works of our hands, our labor under the sun throughout eternity!

Eccl 5:18
Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion.

Eccl 8:15
Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.

Hence, Ecclesiastes is very much a tooth book!

How about the last Spoke 21 book, the Epistle of Jude? Is it also a tooth book? Yes, it is!

Jude speaks of the feasts of charity, the love feasts. Even more revealing, Jude speaks expressly about eating and feeding! (I can show these love feasts refer to the Feast of Tabernacles -- the most festive of all the feasts of the Lord.)

Jude 12
These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;

Jude portrays a very strong contrast between the godly and the ungodly. God's judgment on the ungodly is that they shall not eat nor drink in the eternal ages to come! The servants of God shall eat and drink and have their fill throughout eternity while the wicked shall be hungry and thirsty. The Book of Jude does not go into so many words in describing the fate of the ungodly in terms of food and drink. However, Isaiah 65, which corresponds to Jude, the 65th book of the Bible, describes this scenario perfectly. (Incidentally, Isaiah is a kind of mini Bible. Each chapter describes a book of the Bible.)

Isa 65:13
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed:

Isa 65:21-22
And they shall build houses, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.


Let us recap. Each Spoke 21 book seems to have something to do with eating. John tells us in order to live forever, we must feast upon the source of eternal life -- the Lord Jesus. We must also receive the gift of the Holy Spirit so that "out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." (John 7:38) We must abide in Him continually by partaking of the communion of the bread and cup, eating His body and drinking His blood.

In Ecclesiastes, the Preacher observes the futility of life and its endless cycles. Due to the transience of life and its meaninglessness, he appears to espouse an epicurean philosophy to life -- eat, drink and be merry.(Ecc 8:15) Taken out of context, one may draw the wrong conclusion that the Preacher promotes the epicurean lifestyle. Not so. Whatever we do, he reminds us that God will judge us and we must fear Him and perform our duty. What he is really saying is that since all flesh is as grass, do not get caught up in the rat race and all the futile pursuits under the sun, but enjoy God and the works of our hands, smell the roses along the way, eat, drink and be merry (in a moderate way of course!) and still perform the duty required of us with the fear of the Lord in us, all the days of our life.

What a marvelous picture of Paradise! There is holy work (no longer labour under the sun) to be performed, yet, there will be plenty of enjoyment, eating, drinking and celebrating, in an enviroment thoroughly permeated with the divine light of God and the Lamb -- the Sun of Righteousness and the True Light of the world. [Note: 'Sun' is also a key theme of Shin since the word 'sun' is Shemesh in Hebrew -- comprising of three Hebrew letters, Shin Mem Shin.]

In Jude, we read that there will be "exceeding joy" in His presence. There will be no more "spots in your feasts of charity" in that day. Isaiah 65, which describes Jude, paints a more detailed picture of what the New Heaven and New Earth will be like. God's servants will get to eat and drink while "the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars" (Re 21:8), will be hungry and thirsty.

It is also not surprising that Isaiah 65 is strongly linked with Ecclesiastes since Ecclesiastes is the first Spoke 21 book while Isaiah 65 describes the third Spoke 21 book, Jude. We read in Isaiah 65:22, "mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands" while in Ecc 3:13, "And also that every man should eat and drink, and enjoy the good of all his labour, it is the gift of God."

Another similar scripture from Ecclesiastes is Ecc 5:18, "Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion."

Another undeniable connection is the phrase "vexation of spirit". This phrase appears 10 times in Scripture: 9 times in Ecclesiastes and once in Isaiah 65 verse 14, "Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit."


The Bible Wheel phenomenon is real and it's one way of looking at the Bible.