Once again, a narrative in the Bible is torn into shreds by the tug of war between the Fundamentalists on the one side and the “science” mockers on the other side with Jonah and the fish in the center. The fundamentalists go to great lengths to “prove” that the story is no fake and, in the process, have to lean heavily on folklore to lend weight and credence to their “defense” of the Bible, at the same time manufacturing precious material for the mockers to build the Mocking Temple of God and the Bible. In the meantime, the essence of the narrative gets lost in this struggle. There is a very profound Truth that is hidden in the story of Jonah and the Fish and it is this Truth that we want to get to by doing this exposition of the Book of Jonah.
WHO IS JONAH?
The fact of the matter is that the story of Jonah and the Fish is certainly authentic, and it can be PROVEN! I am going to do just that with this article. However, the very first thing we must do is find out who this prophet Jonah actually was. You will be surprised to know that he was NOT a prophet who lived and prophesied in Israel during the reign of King Jeroboam2 (800-750BC). You will also be surprised out of your wits if I tell you exactly who this prophet was. I just hope that you will not stop reading until I’ve put all evidence on the table, then you can do some “Mocking the Bible Mockers” with me and demolish a sizable chunk of the Mocking Temple and we will keep up with this exercise until it’s been completely eradicated.
“Jonah” was born in the year 8BC in Bethlehem, Judea. He had a very brief but extremely fruitful lifespan of only 37½ years. He was crucified by the Romans on the recommendation and insistence of the Jews. I guess by now you know who I am referring to. The next piece of information will take the veil completely away from His person: He rose from the grave “after three days and three nights”, appeared to His disciples during the next 40 days, ascended into heaven and Promised to return. YES! Jonah is Jesus! Let us have a look why I conclude that Jonah is Jesus.
The name Jonah: Why did the author of the Book choose the name Jonah? It means “dove”, and this is the first clue that leads us to Jesus. When Jesus was baptized what happened at the ceremony? Yes, the Holy Spirit descended onto Him in the form of a DOVE and confirmed His authority by pronouncing: “This is my Son whom I Love; with Him I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17). This means that the “Spirit of Truth” can be referred to as the Dove.
Son of Amittai: Amittai means “truth” and this is exactly what Jesus told Pilate what he came to witness for in the world: “In fact for this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world, TO TESTIFY TO THE TRUTH. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.” (John 18:37) In other words, the text must be read as “Jesus the Son of the Spirit of Truth.
Nineveh: This world city is an allusion to the whole world. This statement will become clear when we look at the next point. Jesus was commissioned to go to the world and with His Presence preach “the Kingdom of heaven is near” (Matthew 4:17) and with His Atoning Offer preach the Gospel of the Eternal Jubilee with the permanent cancelling of the Debt of Sin (Luke4:21) When Jesus was asked whether he was going to restore the (New) Kingdom of Israel, He answered that it was not for them to know God’s Timetable. There was another thing that first had to happen: the Old Kingdom of Israel had to be re-established and that could only start to happen after the disciples “received power by the Holy Spirit” (Acts 1:8) and the Christian Church came into being. For that reason, “Jonah” is reported to have fled to…
Tarshish: The Question is: why Tarshish? And the answer is simple: Tarshish is the place from where the Apostle Paul came (Acts 21:39). Paul was the foremost Christian, so this is Bible language for saying instead of going to the world, Jesus fled to the yet unborn Christianity. Jesus confirmed this when he told the Canaanite woman: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24) Later He also told His disciples to “Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.” (Matthew 10:6) And who is this “lost sheep of Israel”? They are the remnants of the Northern Tribes called Israel after the split recorded in 1 Kings 12 and who were later to be taken into exile by the Assyrians and just listen to the allusion of the Bible: “So the people of Israel were taken from their home into exile in Assyria and they are still there.” (2 Kings 17:23) The northern tribes never returned to their homeland like Judah did after their exile, which means that when Jesus arrived on the world scene they were spiritually still in Exile. These were the people who would later become the Christians, in fulfilment of the Promised New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31-34 and confirmed in Hebrews 8:8-12.
From the presence of the LORD: Now the meaning of this phrase confirms the previous point. This is what happened to Israel (the Northern Tribes) They were removed from the Old Covenant and restored under the New Covenant (Hosea 2), taken away from the presence of the Lord Jehovah to proclaiming Jesus as Lord (2 Corinthians 4:5) and in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Joppa: This name means “beautiful’ and is an allusion to the Temple in Jerusalem. It was at the “Beautiful Gate” where the very first miracle happened at the hands of the Apostles (Acts 3:2, 10) confirming the promise of Jesus in Matthew 10:8 and sending the Christian Church off into the future.
“…so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.”
This here is the biggest likeness between the narrative of Jonah and what happened to Jesus and his disciples. (Mark 4:37, Luke 8:23) The boats in both instances were tossed about in a very fierce storm. In the case of Jonah, the storm subsided when he was tossed into the waves, while the storm in the New Testament was calmed by the command of Jesus. Then the fish swallowed Jonah on the command of God and the rest, like they say, is history! If one carefully reads the prayer of Jonah in chapter 2, Jonah actually landed in Sheol (verse 2), which is the Hebrew name for the land of the dead. The implication of this is severe: JONAH DIED! And there is only ONE person in the history of mankind who died, was buried and came back to the land of the living: Jesus! The resemblances don’t end there…
JESUS AND THE FISH
When the persecution of the Christians was at its peak, they had to go underground and devise various means of secretly identifying each other as practicing Christians, without giving their game away. One such way was to draw a figure of a fish on the ground. In Greek the word for fish is I-CH-T-US and this word was in turn used as an acronym for: IĒSOUS – CHRISTOS – THEOS – UIHOS, meaning Jesus Christ God’s Son.
THE SIGN OF JONAH
I have sorted the 10 verses where the Jesus/Jonah combination is mentioned in the Bible in 3 groups so we can have a look at their message.
Mat_12:39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
The Book of Jonah was a well-read and readily believed piece of Jewish literature. These verses contain words spoken by Jesus about Jonah, so it will be wise to carefully look at the Message contained in them:
Evil and adulterous Generation: This is not the normal genealogical generations. Jesus here refers to a host of Generations grouped together. There are altogether seven of these Generations scheduled for the current (and every other) Aion. We will do some deeper delving into these Generations in a future article, where we will scrutinize the Six Creation Days of Genesis 1. Here it will have to suffice to say that this “evil and adulterous’ Generation is the 5th generation which started at His birth and will end in the Great Tribulation. This is the Generation whose wickedness overshadowed those of all the other Generations, because they killed the Lamb of God who took upon Himself the total of all the “evil and adultery” of the entire Aion (all 7 Generations) to eradicate the “evil and adultery” of the Aion at the cross on Calvary.
The whale’s belly: Here the science-mockers score a point at the cost of the Fundamentalists. There is no way that somebody can survive landing in a fish’s belly for three hours, let alone for “three days and three nights”! There definitely is another Message contained in the whale’s belly. (Let me just tell the mockers here that I know there is a difference between a fish and a whale. I suppose the translation renders it ‘whale’ just for the sake of giving a credible name to a submarine-sized “fish”.) The “whale’s belly” is directly equated to the grave. This can be comprehended from the words in the prayer of Jonah (Jonah 2) and there is a very important reason for it.
Three days and three nights: Jesus was crucified on “the day of Preparation” (for the Passover), which fell on a Thursday in the year 30AD, resulting in the “special Sabbath” (Leviticus 23:6; John 19:31) on the “next day” (Friday) with the regular Sabbath following on the Saturday. The “3days and 3nights” started for Jesus when He instituted the Holy Communion, putting an unbreakable seal on His Destiny the evening of the 5th day, (Wednesday evening – the lunar day starts at sunset and ends at sunset the following day) then he was condemned and crucified and died and buried before the sun set on the fifth day (Wednesday-Thursday). Then He was in the grave the night and the day of the 6th day (Thursday-Friday) as well as the night and the day of the seventh day (Friday-Saturday). He rose from the dead on the first day of the week (which starts Saturday at sunset) and first appeared to Mary Magdalene…
The sign of the grave: The powerful “sign of the grave” is the only sign the “evil and adulterous” Generation will get. This sign is a watershed and line of division between Christianity and the rest of the world’s religions. This sign is the cornerstone of a building (The Christian Temple). JESUS’ DEATH AND RESURRECTION IS THE CORNERSTONE OF CHRISTIANITY. You MUST believe that in order to become a true follower of Jesus. Those who reject this “cornerstone” is simply not worthy of being a follower of Jesus. Unfortunately, there are today many “followers” even preachers and leaders in Christianity who are under the influence of especially the mockers from science who do not regard this cornerstone as important anymore. For them the Apostle Peter has a special message: “Now to you who believe this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, ‘the stone the builders rejected has become the capstone’”.
Mat_12:41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.
What exactly did Jesus mean here, if the Book of Jonah was just a prophetic narrative? These are the two verses which look like they lend credence to a historic pre-Jesus Jonah. Yet if one has a look at the spiritual meaning of the text it again points only to one Jonah: JESUS! Here the “men of Nineveh” alludes to the whole world, all the humans who lived and died before the Atonement Offer of Jesus. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is NOT a Gift to be “claimed”, a package to be “opened” and a ticket to be “utilized” as preached by so many Christians. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s Gift to mankind- Period! The Offer of Jesus Christ is the Atonement Offer for all humans from Adam to the Last Trumpet call.
Humans are saved by the Atonement Offer of Jesus by subconsciously condemning Jesus to die in their stead on the accursed cross. These “men of Nineveh will also HAVE to condemn the 5th Generation with Jesus as its Head in order to share in the benefits of a condemned Jesus. The Apostle Peter writes: “He was put to death in the body, but made alive by the Spirit, through whom he also went and preached to the spirits in prison.” (1Peter 3:18, 19) One can thus safely say that Jonah (the Atonement Offer of Jesus) was preached posthumously to the “men of Nineveh”. They “repented” not because they spoke some eternal words of wisdom, but by the Offer of Christ bleeding through to reach the whole Aion.
Jonah is here: Jesus is actually saying it: I AM JONAH! Jonah is here! Somebody greater than the hero of the prophetic narrative is speaking to you! The people of Nineveh will receive a pardon from the destruction, because of what YOU (the 5th Generation) is going to do to Me. Their condemnation is fully focused on to the cross, the forgiveness of their sins is centered on the sign of the grave and their repentance and acceptance by God is contained and endorsed by the Resurrection. Thanks and Praises to God: Jonah is here!