TODAY’S READING: JONAH 1-3
Jonah’s call and rebellion (chapter 1); Jonah’s chastening and repentance (chapter 2); Jonah’s second call and obedience (chapter 3); Jonah’s rebellion and rebuking (chapter 4).
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
There is perhaps no prophetic Book of the Old Testament more important than the little Book of Jonah. It is this Book that prophesies and teaches us about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus Himself said, “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 (Jonah): 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” (Matt. 12:39-40). It is for that reason (as you can well imagine) the Book of Jonah has been more “SPOKEN AGAINST” (see Luke 2:24!) than any other Old Testament Book. The attacks come in many different forms. One of the most popular attacks from the unsaved world is that the events in this Book didn’t really happen; they are just fiction. That is why the devil has handed down several similar stories in mythology (Andromeda, Orion, and not the least of w!
hich is Hercules, who was in the belly of the sea creature for three days and three nights!). He would love for the events in the Book of Jonah to be viewed as fiction right along with the fictitious stories of mythology. Obviously, the devil’s attack isn’t against Jonah and his being spit out on dry land after three days and three nights in the belly of the whale; his attack is against Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection! Remember, Jesus said, “AS was Jonah, SO was the Son of Man” (Matt. 12:39-40). If Jonah was fictitious, so was His death, burial and resurrection! We could put it another way; if Jonah is a lie, then Jesus is a liar!
Another key attack on the Book of Jonah is the attack that comes from “scholars” in the “saved” world. They believe that the events all happened, they just don’t believe that Jonah was dead in the belly of that “great fish” (Jonah’s words in Jonah 1:17) or “whale” (Jesus’ word in Matt. 12:40). Again, the point is, “AS was Jonah, SO was Jesus”! If Jonah didn’t actually die and resurrect from the belly of the whale, Jesus didn’t die (enter the “swoon theory”) and resurrect from the heart (belly) of the earth! I’m not the one that said that Jonah was going to be the only sign given of the resurrection, Jesus did! It doesn’t matter that we can’t figure it out physiologically, scientifically, practically or any other way. If Jesus said Jonah was a picture of the resurrection, then he had to die, and that’s where we resign ourselves to Romans 3:4: “Let God be true, but every man a liar”! Interestingly, the Book of Jonah begins, “Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the !
son of Amittai, saying” (1:1a). The name Jonah means “the dove,” and the name Amittai means “truth” or “truth telling.” A dove is a biblical type of the Holy Spirit (see Matt. 3:16), and truth is specifically defined in Scripture as Jesus (John 14:6) and as the Word of God (John 17:17). The Book of Jonah is the Book written by the Spirit of God (II Peter 1:21) to give us the truth about Jesus, and we’ll leave it at that!
Historically, Jonah was a prominent prophet in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of Jeroboam (793-753 B.C.), with the specific events described in this Book taking place around 760 B.C. The real purpose of his ministry, as revealed in these four chapters, is to preach to Gentiles, who DO respond to his message with repentance, making it the record of the greatest revival in the history of mankind! (Note that Ninevah was a city of almost a million people, and thus the continued reference to it being a “great city” – 1:2; 2:2; 3:3; 4:11, and note that every single person in the city responded to the call to repent – 3:5!)
>From a doctrinal or prophetic standpoint, Jonah is a type of the 144,000 in the Tribulation Period who preach to Gentiles when the world experiences its greatest revival in the history of mankind!
All of these things are necessary to understand both the importance of the Book of Jonah and its placement in the canon of Scripture, and hopefully, can help you to understand the big picture. Regretfully, space is about gone to give some of the important other details. Some brief things that may help to know or observe as you’re reading:
• Ninevah is the capital city of Assyria (the dominant world power
of that time). Jonah knew that two things were true: #1 – The
wickedness of Assyria had come up to God (1:1), meaning God was
about to blast ‘em! #2 – Assyria was about to blast the Nation of
Israel. If God judges Assyria for their sin first, Israel will be
spared. If he preaches to Ninevah and they repent, he is not only
signing his own death warrant, but the death warrant of his entire
nation. That will help you make sense out of why Jonah goes in
the opposite direction when he’s called to preach to Ninevah, and
why he’s so ticked off when almost a million sinners repent. (See
• Jonah went to Whale University.
• Everyone in the Book of Jonah obeyed God except the man of God,
the one for whom the Book is named! The storm, the dice (lot),
the sailors, the fish, the Ninevites (again, every last one of
them!), the east wind, the gourd, the worm – everyone and
everything obeyed except the one you would expect!
• Jonah shows us that it is very possible to serve the Lord, and yet
not love people. God makes it very clear through the Book of
Jonah that He (God) loves and has pity for lost souls (4:2,11).
This same Book makes clear that Jonah had more love and pity for
himself and even for the lousy gourd (4:10-11) than he did for the
lost multitudes in the city Ninevah. As you read this incredible
Book, ask yourself, Do I care more about myself than I do God’s
will or the lost? To what is my life more consumed than it is the
lost people on this planet?
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As the ONE WHO WOULD DIE, BE BURIED, AND RISE FROM THE DEAD AFTER THREE DAYS – Jonah 1:7-2:10. (Matt. 12:39-41).