Soteriology (Salvation)

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 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).]

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