JONAH 1: 1-3 JONAH THE COWARD?
Why would we study the book of Jonah? Well first off Jonah in the Hebrew tongue means dove and the dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. (Luke 3:22). Secondly let’s turn to Matthew.
Matthew 12:38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.
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:
Mat 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
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.
Now most people say well that is a symbol of Christ dying and raising up again and stop. Well there is a lot more here than you may think. So with that said lets turn to the book of Jonah.
Jonah 1:1 Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying,
Now we don’t have a time frame attached here. We do know from 2Kings 14:25 that Jonah lived during the rein of Jeroboam II.
Jonah 1:2 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.
Jonah 1:3 But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.
Here is where Jonah gets a bad rap. Did he disobey God? Yes, but remember Christ said that this man is the only sign that generation was going to get so let’s look closer. The word Tarshish means established. Now lets look at what that sign may mean. Jonah is a prophet of Israel and Israelite prophets didn’t go to gentile nations at this time. Gentiles were not even allowed into the temple. If they wanted to hear the word of God then they needed to sit in the outer gate. Christ was no different. Matthew 15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Until Christ died the way wasn’t open to the gentiles. Starting to see a correlation here?
I want to look at one more thing before we close this post. Nineveh is the capital of Assyria and it lay north of Israel. The prophet Amos was alive and teaching at the same time that Jonah was and he prophesied that Assyria was going to take Israel into captivity. So was Jonah disobeying God? Yes, but he knew what God would do if he disobeyed and yet he was willing to sacrifice himself to save his people because if God didn’t stay his hand and the Assyrians fell then they wouldn’t take Israel.
JONAH 1: 4-17 WHERE ARE YOU GOING JONAH?
When he left off Jonah was heading in the opposite direction that God told him to go.
Jonah 1:4 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.
Jon 1:5 Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.
So here is Jonah sleeping in a ship that is tossing about so much that everyone aboard thinks they are going to die. Does this remind of a story at all? Lets turn again to Luke.
Luke 8:22 Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.
Luke 8:23 But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.
Do you see the correlation?
Luke 8:24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.
Luke 8:25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.
Christ, of course, is upset because they didn’t have faith. Let’s head back to Jonah a minute.
Jonah 1:6 So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.
Jon 1:7 And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.
Jon 1:8 Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou?
Who are you and what are you doing here?
Jonah 1:9 And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.
Jon 1:10 Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them.
Think on this, these men are not Israelites, but when they heard Jonah was a Hebrew they knew not to cross the God of Israel.
Jonah 1:11 Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous.
What can we do Jonah to stop the storm?
Jonah 1:12 And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.
Now look at Jonah’s faith here. He is not trying to save his own neck and he knows that as soon as he is out of the ship their lives will be spared.
Jonah 1:13 Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them.
These men were not about to toss a guy overboard so they tried to get back to shore.
Jonah 1:14 Wherefore they cried unto the LORD, and said, We beseech thee, O LORD, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man’s life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O LORD, hast done as it pleased thee.
Now what God are they crying out to? You think these men are going to forget this? Also they don’t want to have Jonah’s blood on their hands. I’m sure Pilate comes to mind. But also think of what this is to symbolize. Didn’t Christ perish for all of us?
Jon 1:15 So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging.
Jon 1:16 Then the men feared the LORD exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.
People don’t change. You get them in a bad situation and they promise anything.
Jon 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
We will be returning to Luke before we are done with Jonah, because we are going to look at what Christ did immediately after he calmed the seas.
JONAH 2: 1-10 JONAH PRAYS
Jonah 2:1 Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly,
Jonah 2:2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.
What was Christ doing when he was in the tomb? He wasn’t hanging out playing cards.
1Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
Christ died for all
1Peter 3:19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
Even the souls that died before he was put on the cross. Why? Because we are all Children of God and he loves us. Do you have children? Do you love that child even when he/she messes up? Of course, our Father is no different.
Jonah 2:3 For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.
Even though Jonah is praying here he is also teaching.
Jonah 2:4 Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.
This is faith my friends. Faith like few of us have. Here is a man tossed into a raging sea, knowing that he was disobeying God, then swallowed by a giant fish and still he knows that he will again see the temple.
Jonah 2:5 The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.
Jonah 2:6 I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.
Not an easy trip. He wasn’t just quickly gulped down. Also note how he was kept from corruption, just as Christ’s body didn’t see corruption.
Jonah 2:7 When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.
His soul fainted, meaning he died. Now who remembered the Lord? It wasn’t God who forgot him. It was Jonah and the moment he turned to God. He was answered.
Jonah 2:8 They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.
Jonah 2:9 But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.
Just listen to his words. Jonah is turning himself over to God completely. We must do this ourselves. Let’s take a quick look at Luke.
Luke 18:22 Now when Jesus heard these things, he said unto him, Yet lackest thou one thing: sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me.
I hate using only one verse so I encourage you to read the whole chapter on your own, but what Jesus is saying is that you must follow him with your whole heart.
Jonah 2:10 And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
JONAH 3: 1-10 JONAH SPIT OUT ON THE SHORES OF NINEVEH
Let’s start this off by looking back at the last verse of Chapter 2. (remember the original scriptures did not have chapter and verse).
Jonah 2:10 And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.
Jonah 3:1 And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying,
Jonah 3:2 Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.
Now this is how great of a Father we have and in truth here lies a bit of humor. The Assyrians (which Nineveh is the capital of) worshiped Dagon. Dagon was supposed to be their lord of lords and on the coast cities he was a fish. So lets picture this. Your on the coast and your god is a giant fish and here comes a giant fish that vomits out a man with a message from God.
Jonah 3:3 So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.
Jonah 3:4 And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.
40 in biblical numerics means probation. Just as Christ was in the desert 40 days and the children of Israel was in the desert 40 years. Basically what that is telling you is that Nineveh is on probation and if they get their hearts right they will be spared.
Jonah 3:5 So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.
Now this is what is so amazing. These people didn’t question or whine. They believed and that my friends is faith. Lets compare that to Israel’s 40 years in the wilderness. They were given everything. Cloud by day, fire by night and food from heaven and still they murmured even after seeing the miracles performed in Egypt.
Jonah 3:6 For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes.
Here even the king put on sackcloth. This is used for morning. Do you see any pride?
Jonah 3:7 And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:
Jonah 3:8 But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.
They are not messing around. Now did God ask this of them? No, but we will see in a moment that God respected them for it.
Jonah 3:9 Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
They didn’t know if God would turn away his anger and still they pressed on. We know that if we follow the ways of God his anger will not be upon us. How much then is their repentance?
Jonah 3:10 And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
This isn’t new for God. I encourage you to read Jeremiah 35 and see how God will respect a person for holding to his beliefs.
JONAH 4: 1-11 JONAH ANGRY
I know I promised I will tie some more Christ stuff together in chapter 3, but I feared the post was getting too long and upon reflection I thought it may be best to put it into a Jonah wrap up post after this chapter.
Jonah 4:1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.
Remember in the last chapter the people of Nineveh repented of their wickedness, but Jonah isn’t happy despite the fact that he did a great work (through God of course).
Jonah 4:2 And he prayed unto the LORD, and said, I pray thee, O LORD, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.
Why is he angry? It’s not because God did something unexpected. It’s because God did EXACTLY as Jonah knew he would. Ponder that a moment. Don’t over look the fact that God doesn’t change and you can rely on him. He isn’t out to trick anyone. 1 Corinthians_14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
Jonah 4:3 Therefore now, O LORD, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.
Remember why Jonah didn’t want these people saved. They are the people that take Israel away and even to this day are scattered. This is the 10 northern tribes and not Judah and Benjamin, they were taken by Babylon.
Jonah 4:4 Then said the LORD, Doest thou well to be angry?
Is anger helping you Jonah?
Jonah 4:5 So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.
This booth is just a shelter maybe a tent.
Jonah 4:6 And the LORD God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.
Now it’s time for Jonah to learn. And I say to you when God is passing out lessons it’s good to pay attention. I also want to say on another note that here is an example of how the Holy Spirit teaches us. Lest you forget Jonah means Dove.
Jonah 4:7 But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.
Jonah 4:8 And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.
To me it looks like Jonah is acting like a child, but how often do we appear the same way to God? Let’s look at this through Jonah’s eyes for a second. Imagine your French and it’s 1930. You know that Germany was going to take over your country. Then God comes to you and says, “If Germany doesn’t repent I am going to destory it. Go go Germany and tell them this.” That would be hard. Then you go and the whole country repents and God allows them to continue on course. How could you go home again and face your kinsmen? How could you even look your kids in the eye knowing that you helped saved the people that are going to sack your country? Be kind of hard wouldn’t it?
Jonah 4:9 And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death.
Let’s be thankful that God is so patient.
Jonah 4:10 Then said the LORD, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night:
Your upset about a gourd Jonah? You didn’t work for it, yet you disregard the work you have done? See what Jonah is forgetting is God is in control. People don’t slip through the cracks. He has a plan and he is going to work that plan because of why? Because they didn’t listen and now they are going to get struck by lighting and fried? No because a child needs correction. Never ever forget: 2 Peter_3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Jonah 4:11 And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?
The men of Nineveh didn’t know what they were doing. They were not given the law. God is not like man. If you are ignorant of the law there is no sin.
AFTER THOUGHTS ON JONAH
When Christ walked the earth he was sent to the Hebrews and most (if not all) Hebrews knew the old testament. This is why Christ would say to the “have you not read?” If he had walked today he probably wouldn’t have said that because most (the multitude) have not read or even care. If they do they say I don’t get it and move on.
With that said when the story given about Christ sleeping in the bottom of the boat their minds would instantly would be reminded about Jonah and how he slept in the bottom of the boat.
So let’s go back to when the Scribes and the Pharisees asked for a sign.
Matthew 12:38 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.
Matthew 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:
Matthew 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Matthew 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.
Who are these men of Nineveh here? Who is he talking about? He is talking about the ones that listen to his words. For there is no Gentile or Israelite. There is only those who are attached to the true vine and those who are not.
Matthew 12:42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: for she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here.
Stay with the subject Christ is still teaching.
Mat 12:43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.
Now here is where you need to perk up. Why on earth is he talking about unclean spirits?
Mat 12:44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.
Mat 12:45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
unclean spirits are real my friends. They are not lurking behind every bush, but they do exist. Remember how Christ teaches. He paints us a picture so we can understand a spiritual truth. Lets go back to that picture.
Matthew 8:24 And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
Note that this is earlier in Matthew. The disciples would remember this. They knew that story of Jonah, just as I hope you all do now.
Matthew 8:25 And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
Matthew 8:26 And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.
Matthew 8:27 But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
What manner of man indeed! Now just as in chapter 12 the lesson isn’t over.
Matthew 8:28 And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.
Why is he in Gergesenes? This is Gentile country and he is sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Well let’s find out.
Matthew 8:29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
What we have here friends are unclean spirits. And is it any surprise that they know who Christ is? Satan knows who Christ is and so do his cronies.
Matthew 8:30 And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding.
Matthew 8:31 So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine.
Christ is going to clean house friends.
Matthew 8:32 And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters.
Swine is the lowest carnal flesh. It’s an unclean animal that God designed to help clean up the earth as all scavenger do, but even they could not handle this legion.
Mat 8:33 And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils.
See everyone knew about these two men that were terrorizing the countryside.
Mat 8:34 And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.
So Christ sails all the way across the Sea of Galilee to do what? Preach? No he cast out demons then left. But do you think for one second that Christ left the man empty so that those unclean spirits could go find some buddies?
Mark 5:18 And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.
Need I answer that question. You know now what Jonah symbolized.
Before we leave the topic of Jonah I want to show you one more thing.
John 21:14 This is now the third time that Jesus shewed himself to his disciples, after that he was risen from the dead.
Note the three. Remember that numbers in the bible do have meaning.
John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
Son of what? Jonas or Jonah. He is giving the same command that Jonah had. Peter son of the Dove. Son of the Holy Spirit.
John 21:16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
John 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
Of course Peter was upset because he thought that Christ was doubting his faith, but no. Remember Peter was the only one besides Christ that walked on water. Christ knew Peter had faith. That is why he is calling him Son of the Holy Spirit.
John 21:18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.
This is election. Many have free will, but God’s election are different. Just like Jonah didn’t have a choice where he was going and just like how Saul (Paul) was struck down on the road to Damascus.
John 21:19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.
Historically we know that Peter was crucified and it is believed that he was crucified upside down because he did not want to die the same way Christ did. and we know that Peter did follow Christ and that in Acts chapter 2 we see that Peter was there on Pentecost day to receive the Holy Spirit.