• Pete Johnson
Man fishing on a river

I recently returned from a 7-day float trip down the Arolik River in remote Western Alaska. Well, it was a 6-day trip because we could not get out on the first day due to inclement weather. It was quite the adventure though!  We flew into Bethel, Alaska, and were taken out by float plane to Arolik Lake to start our 45-river mile adventure toward the Bering Sea.

Before leaving Bethel, we had to weigh all our gear for the float plane ride out to the lake. On the first Beaver (the type of float plane) it was me and a friend. Both of us along with our gear weighed exactly 666 pounds. We attempted to make minor adjustments to change that number but to no avail.

On the second day out I became quite ill, with stomach issues. It was sometime during that ordeal that I left my Orvis sling bag with three fly reels, beads, leader, line, assorted flies, and streamers on a gravel bar in the middle of nowhere.

As the weather continued to go south (very bad), we utilized the technology of a Garmin to get weather updates. The forecast called for high winds and rain, so we looked for an adequate refuge from the incoming weather system. We needed a place that would shelter us from the high winds. Late that evening we found a place that suited our needs and made camp.

The next morning at approximately 6 am I stepped out of the tent to find that one of our NRS rafts was gone! It was the one that had not been secured properly by the other two guys, and due to the rising water, had been lifted off the gravel bar and swept down the river!

I came into the tent and shared the morning’s news. One in our party thought since we could not possibly catch the raft we should just fish. He was summarily overruled. We broke down camp as efficiently as we could and packed all the gear on the remaining boat. But wait, we had volunteered to take water samples at every location we camped at, so being men of integrity, we took water samples, along with water temperature and air temperature. Part of that scientific duty was to attach that info to our GPS location.  Since I had the Garmin, it was my duty to call out the GPS location. Standing where the blue raft had sat just the night before, I read aloud our GPS location.  North 59.666893 West 161.666914! “What”? “There must be some mistake with those readings!” Someone said. No mistake, I even took a picture!

As we prepared to launch our single vessel in search of the one that got away, we noticed that our campsite, the very spot where the tent had previously sat, was now being overrun with water. Even the half-burned wood from the previous night’s fire was now floating away in over 4 inches of water!

What possibly could have been the cause of all our misfortune?

Were there any signs that we didn’t read correctly that may have prevented us from experiencing these things? 

What about the number 6, like in 666?

Maybe I should have noticed that Bethel has six letters. Alaska has six letters. Our trip was cut down to six days. Arolik has six letters. The plane we flew out on- Beaver- has six letters, Garmin- six letters. I saw that our vessel (6 letters) was gone at 6 am. Flyrod has six letters!

Perhaps all the signs were there; we just didn’t know how to interpret them!

Can understanding the secret meaning of numbers help guide me and keep me out of harm’s way?

The idea that numbers have secret and significant meaning for one’s life is called Numerology.

What is Numerology?

Numerology is the practice of using numbers to predict events and guide human activity. It has been around since ancient times.  There are three major types of numerology. Kabbalic, Chaldean and the Pythagorean.

The most popular of these three is the Pythagorean. The Greek mathematician Pythagoras was the founder of Numerology and “practiced it to divine the fates of individuals, predict the events of certain locations, and use it as a means to alter destiny.”

Many people will not even walk out of their homes without consulting numbers or their astrology charts.

Even some Christians search for symbolic meanings and patterns to numbers in the Bible, looking to find clues or hidden meanings that reveal “secret codes” that have been hidden by God for us to find.

These numbers, according to some will reveal secrets of the future, show us why we act the way do, or provide guidance in daily living.

However, nowhere in God’s Word are we commanded to search for and decipher numbers or patterns of numbers in the Bible to reveal secrets or hidden meanings to guide our lives.

Actually, God forbids divination, whether it be through numbers or by means of the Zodiac.

You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, 14 for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this. Deuteronomy 18:13–14

(Lev. 19:31, Gal. 5:19–20)

Deciphering numbers for hidden meanings won’t disclose the will of God for our lives or provide Spiritual insight regarding what direction in life we should or shouldn’t take.

God’s Word does that:

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Joshua 1:8

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

God’s Words, found in the Bible, are what we need to understand and rightly divine, not numbers.

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16–17

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. Hebrews 4:12


So back to our float trip.  Before the four of us set out on that single raft in search of the one that got away, we prayed that God would help us to find it, preferably sooner than later. Not long after, as we rounded a bend in the river, there she was! We were overjoyed, to say the least. The wind had pushed it against the bank, with the oars still resting on the top of the boat.

Numbers are real, they can be found almost anywhere. The number 6, and 666 showed up a lot on our trip. Some might say that we were doomed from the get-go.

However, no number reading, no astrology chart, can provide nor protect, nor predict the future.

God provides, God protects, and God doesn’t predict the future, He has already planned it out!

Our trip was super exciting despite the moments. Four Christian men out in the middle of God’s creation, awed by His handiwork, and humbled by our humanity! We caught lots of fish, and we even caught our boat!


remember the former things of old;
for I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like me,
 declaring the end from the beginning
    and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
    and I will accomplish all my purpose,’

Isaiah 46:10