Jonah

Before and After Calvary

Jonah 1:2 “Arise, and go to Nineveh, and cry against it.”

Jonah 3:2 “Arise, and go to Nineveh, and preach unto it.”

Jonah received two calls from God. He disobeyed the first, but the second he fulfilled. Between the two calls, Jonah had a most gruesome experience. He died in the belly of the fish, was miraculously resurrected, and then deposited on dry land. [Note the difference in the two words in the two calls from God: (1) Cry against it, and (2) Preach unto it.]

The first message was a message of judgment, while the second message was a message of grace and mercy. It was also a call to repentance. Between the two calls there lies the death and resurrection of Jonah. The message of grace and mercy was after Jonah’s resurrection.

Jonah, Lesson 1

Read Jonah 1:1-11

Introduction

No book of the Bible has been subjected to more scorn and ridicule by skeptics and infidels than the book of Jonah. There may be one exception, that being the first three chapters of Genesis. Despite the criticism of men, the Lord vouches for its genuineness. Matthew 12:40 says, “For as Jonah was three days…” etc. The Lord used the experience of Jonah as a type of His own death and resurrection and in doing so lifted the book above the realm of fiction, allegory, or fable.

Jonah: Lesson 2

Jonah 1:3 says, “But Jonah rose up to flee from the presence of the Lord.” God had commanded Jonah to arise and go to Nineveh and preach coming judgment upon that city. Jonah arose alright, but did exactly the opposite. As a Jew, he could not bring himself to preach a message to the Gentile city that would bring repentance and God’s favor upon them. Instead of going east, he headed directly west.

Here is a picture of a prophet of God out of communion with God. Jonah is an eloquent type of various aspects of the Christian life and faith:

    - He is the perfect picture of a backslider.

    - He is the type of a sinner for whom Christ died.

    - He is the type of the death and resurrection of Christ.

Notice how sin blinds the eyes of God’s servant and twists his reasoning. [Mention the fact of sin being in a believer’s life and the sin of disobedience. Consider Peter’s disobedience.]

Jonah was a prophet. He knew he had been called of God; he knew he had been given a message from God. Yet foolishly, he allowed himself to be sidetracked. “He rose up to flee from the presence of the Lord.” Take Lot, for example. Lot lost everything for forsaking God. The way of transgressors is hard.

Jonah knew better than that, but his disobedience so twisted his judgment and blinded his eyes that he imagined he could get away with it. In all likelihood Jonah was familiar with the words of David in Psalm 139. [Quote this] What fools God’s children can become when they live in disobedience to God’s will and Word. Consider Elijah and David. Backsliding is a common disease in the church today.

Jonah: Lesson 6

Read Jonah 1:17, Jonah 2:1-10 and Matthew 12:38-41

Three Days and Three Nights

The principle question before us this morning is: Was Jesus in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights? According to tradition, the Lord was crucified on Friday; this has become known throughout the Christian world as “Good Friday.” If this theory is correct, then the statements of our Lord are incorrect.

Mark 8:31 “and after three days rise again.”

Matthew 27:63 “this deceiver said while he was yet alive, after three days I will rise again.”

1 Corinthians 15:4 “And that He was buried, and that He rose again according to the Scriptures on the third day.”

Jonah 1:17 “And Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish.”

In the face of such clear statements, the “Good Friday” theory is impossible. There is not a shred of biblical evidence to support it. The assumption that a part of a day counts for a whole day is taken from the Talmud and is not found in the Bible. If Jesus died on Friday, at 3 pm, He was dead for three hours on Friday, all day Saturday, and a few hours on Sunday. This is supposed to be three days and three nights? In actuality it was one day and two nights.

How can we believe this when Jesus Himself said, “three days and three nights?”

The Jewish day began at sundown and ended at sundown. This rule was laid down in Genesis 1:5, which says, “The evening and the morning were the first day.” The weekly Jewish Sabbath began at sundown, at 6 pm Friday evening, and closed on Saturday evening at 6 pm.

Jonah: Lesson 5

Read Jonah 2

Jonah 2:1 - “Then Jonah prayed unto the Lord his God.”

Jonah did not pray when the storm was raging. He slept. From the fish’s belly, however, he prayed. He prayed to the Lord. Jonah 2:2 says that Jonah cried to the Lord from “the belly of hell.” Are the fish’s belly and the belly of hell (or Sheol) the same place? If they are the same, would not the Holy Spirit have used the same word in both instances?

There are two different words translated “belly” in these two verses. In the first instance, it is the word “me-ah,” which means “an abdomen.” In the second instance, it is the word “betan,” which means “a hollow place.” The idea given is that immediately after Jonah was swallowed and was still alive and conscious, he prayed.

He did not survive long; for, soon after, he cried from Sheol. Jonah prayed from the fish’s abdomen and cried to God from “the hollow place of Sheol.” If this is so, the miracle is not that Jonah remained alive for three days, but that he died and after three days and nights arose from his grave in the belly of the fish. This would be very much in keeping with what our Lord said in Matthew 12, “As Jonah was…so shall the Son of man be three days and nights in the heart of the earth.” This makes Jonah the perfect type.

Jonah had an appalling experience. Jonah also knew that he was being punished. Jonah 2:3 says, “Thou hast cast me into the deep.” Jonah’s prayer:

    Jonah 2:3 - “All Thy waves and billows passed over me.”

    Jonah 2:4 - “I am cast out of Thy sight.”

    Jonah 2:5 - “Weeds were wrapped about my head.”

Jonah: Lesson 4

The Futility of Works

Jonah 1:12-18

In a previous message we learned that the only way the storm that threatened the sailors could be calmed was for Jonah to be cast overboard. There was no other way, no other alternative. In the same way, there is no salvation apart from the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, but proud and stubborn humanity is slow to believe God’s Word. Instead they seek to save themselves through their own efforts and works. Most men and women will exhaust their own devices until they are utterly lost, and then will accept God’s remedy for sin.

“When you have tried everything, read the instructions.”

This principle is illustrated in our narrative. There were at least two things the sailors tried before they would submit to God’s command to throw Jonah overboard. The first attempt to save themselves is found in Jonah 1:5, “They cast forth their wares.” They thought that by getting rid of their cargo they could survive the storm. Their efforts were of no avail.

Similarly, many people today try to reform. They stop lying, stealing, swearing, killing, and lusting. This is the way of religion – live a decent life, join the church, etc. [Describe at this point, reformation - Use the example that can be seen through the evil spirit cast out, who later returns and brings six others (Matthew 12:43-45).]

Jonah: Lesson 3

The Casting of Lots (Jonah 1:7)

The sailors were at their wits end. They did not know what to do. They recognized that this storm was supernatural. They recognized that it was a judgment from God for some crime. The only way they could think of how to identify the culprit was to cast lots among themselves.

In the Old Testament, many people frequently resorted to the casting of lots in order to ascertain the will of God. Examples can be seen in the following: Achan, David as king, the way Joshua divided the land by lot, the duties of the priests and how they were determined by lot, and the way singers were chosen by lot. God gave Israel a method of determining His will since they had incomplete revelation. It was called the Urim and Thummin. These were two stones that were kept in the pocket of the High Priest’s breastplate.

It is generally agreed that these two stones were colored black and white. When the will of God was to be sought, the High Priest would reach into this pouch to ascertain God’s will by picking out one of these stones, either the Urim or the Thummin. It is thought that the white meant “Yes,” and the black, “No.” Is this how we have to ascertain God’s will today? The answer is, emphatically, NO! We have the full revelation of the will of God. Because that which is perfect has come, we have no more need for additional revelation, like signs and wonders, miracles and dreams, and visions and tongues. We have no need for Urim and Thummin. We now have the will of God from the Word of God.

The Repentance of Nineveh

Studies in Jonah - Chapter 3

The Greatest Revival in History: “The Repentance of Nineveh”

This chapter talks about Jonah and his message. Jonah was a prophet, the messenger of God. He had a strange story to tell with regards to his personal experiences. His actual survival gave power to the message he preached, which was a message of grace and mercy and a call to repentance. It was also a message of judgment, as he said, “Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown.”

Hearing this message and believing the sign was from God, the king’s heart was touched, and so he proclaimed a fast and called the people to repentance. Jonah 3:5 says, “So the people of Nineveh believed god, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth from the greatest of them to the least of them.” They literally, “sat in ashes.”

Jonah: Lesson 8

Studies in Jonah: Lesson 8

Jonah 3:9-10 and Jonah 4

Does God ever change His mind? What does it mean when the Scripture says that God repented of what He would do to the Ninevites? (see Jonah 3:9-10; Jonah 4:2) Is it possible to harmonize the many statements in God’s Word concerning His unchangeableness and immutability with the statement in Jonah that, “God repented and changed His mind?” There is also another similar passage in Genesis 6:5-6:

“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart.”

Jonah: Lesson 7

Further Studies in Jonah

Read Jonah 2:10 and Jonah 3:1. Picture Jonah sitting on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea, surprised, stunned, and confused. He had just been resurrected and disgorged by the great fish. What would he do now? Where would he go? He was soon to know.

“And the Word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time,” (Jonah 3:1). The great central theme of Jonah is the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Compare the experiences of Jonah and Christ:

    After Jonah had died and been resurrected, he became the great preacher to the Gentile city of Nineveh, which resulted in their repentance and conversion. So too, the Lord Jesus Christ, by His death and resurrection became the Savior of men and women everywhere. Today, every creature knows the Gospel - Before Jonah’s experience, God dealt only with Israel. After his resurrection, Jonah took the message to the Gentiles. Before Christ died, the message was distinctly to the nation of Israel. (Matthew 10:5-6, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into the cities of the Samaritans enter not. But rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”) After the Cross, the middle wall of partition was broken down between Jews and Gentiles, and the message of “whosoever will” is preached universally throughout the world. (Consider Saul, the jailor, the Eunuch, and Nicodemus as examples)

 

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