The Book of Jonah “Jonah and the whale” o Whale? It’s probably the most well known Bible story to kids. But just the title of that story is wrong because it probably wasn’t a whale. It was actually a dog. Hebrew pronounced dawg. The word means “great fish” o Parable or History? A lot of people have a hard time believing this story. Those same people think that it’s ridiculous to believe in Adam / Eve. The Sadducees o Only believed in the first 5 books of the Old Testament o Didn’t believe in the resurrection / miracles / after-life If you can’t believe in Adam / Eve, Jonah and the great fish, miracles, then can you be saved and go into heaven? o The Sadducees couldn’t unless they changed their beliefs. o I think it’s tough to have a saving belief in Jesus Christ without accepting the Bible in its entirety. Remember Martin Luther – Book of James in the appendix But he didn’t remove the book Some people we know remove these stories completely from the Bible to make themselves feel intelligent in what they are reading. o Ben Franklin – cut miracles out of Bible. The account of Jonah is history, not a parable (as some rationalists believe). And Jonah wasn’t a made up character in a parable Jonah: 2 Kings 14:25 (23-27) o From Gath Hepher in Galilee o Jeroboam II was a bad king, he did evil in the sight of the Lord o But God saw that his people were afflicted He used Jonah to give direction to Jeroboam II about war The word that Jonah spoke restored the coast of Israel. This word/prophecy is not recorded for us to read But the prophecy in Jonah to the Ninevites is Jesus spoke of Him as a real person, a prophet. o Matthew 12:38-41 The scribes / Pharisees wanted a sign, wanted entertainment The demand for signs is evidence of unbelief, not faith. Jesus said no to miracles, but still offered them a powerful sign The sign of Jonah in a fish will point to the resurrection o Jesus needed: Historical significance of Jonah in belly Historical significance of repentance of the Ninevites A perfect example of Old Testament stories pointing towards Jesus. Who is Jonah? o The name Jonah = dove Dove is associated with peace/purity, and also the symbol of sillyness. Hosea 7:11 - Israel is compared to a silly dove Jonah’s story is laughable at times (running from God, swallowed by whale, etc.) Jonah: A type of Christ? o Jonah He was 3 days / 3 nights in the belly of a great fish Caused many to repent of their sins o Who are some other people in the Bible that are pictures of Christ? Isaac His father almost sacrificed him He carried the would for the sacrifice up the mountain himself He went voluntarily Paul (in the letter to Philemon) He offered to pay for Onesimus’ debt Freed Onesimus from slavery Paul gave Onesimus a new reputation in Philemon’s eyes, a clean slate Jonah: A reluctant missionary? o Sometimes God’s prophets tried to challenge His wisdom in calling them to His service. Moses – Exodus 4 (What if they don’t listen / I’m not eloquent ) Jeremiah – Jeremiah 1 (I’m too young) o But Jonah is the only case in the Bible where a true prophet tried hard to put a stop to the will of God by fleeing from the task that God had given him. Opposite direction – as far as he could Tarshish = the ends of the earth to the Jews By boat – Psalm 93 says Jews were afraid of the sea Think about that, a true prophet, trying to run away from the creator of the universe. But let’s not be too quick to judge poor Jonah. Have we ever known that God wants us to do something and yet we… o Tell him we’ll do it later in life o Or do the opposite instead because its what we want to do o God accomplishes his work no matter what. It’s our choice as to whether or not we allow God to use us. If not then He will simply use someone else and we’ll miss out on blessings of serving Him. Jonah: The prophet to another nation? o No mention of Israel Every other prophet mentions Israel Even Obadiah, the prophecy against the Edomites spends some time on Israel. o Nineveh Prophecy Short and sweet In 40 days Nineveh will be overthrown City Capital of the world kingdom at the time (Assyrian Empire) o 3 days walk wide 1 day walk = 12 miles (36 miles wide) This was the great enemy of his people o In the ancient world the Ninevites were the cruelest, bloodiest, most vicious people of their time. o Jonah hated them o So why do you think it is included among the Scriptures? I think it is an unstated rebuke against Israel. A heathen people / gentiles were ready to repent at the first speaking of the prophet, a stranger to them. But Israel, who boasted of being God’s elect, didn’t repent. Even though they were warned by their own prophets many times. o Preview of the streak of light - before the full “light to lighten the Gentiles” that Luke speaks of in Luke 2:32. The repenting of hundreds of thousands of gentiles towards God was done at a time when God’s redemptive plan was still focused on Israel alone. The repenting of the gentiles was a new / uncommon thing even for the apostles. Acts 10:15 o The vision that Peter saw was meant to tell the believing Jews that they were not to call the gentiles unclean anymore. Acts 10:28 o It’s unlawful for a Jew to keep company with a gentile o But the vision I saw was from God so I obeyed Acts 10:44 o They gentiles got saved and the Holy Spirit fell upon them o The Jews that were with Peter were amazed Acts 11 o Some Jews were arguing to Peter about saving the gentiles Acts 11:18 o God has also granted to gentiles the repentance to life Outline of The Book of Jonah o Chapter 1 God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh and speak His word Jonah, a prophet, tries to hide from God and runs to Tarshish Gets on a boat and a storm shakes the ship The sailors find out that it is because of him and throw him overboard Sailors make sacrifices to God A great fish swallows Jonah o Chapter 2 A song of deliverance – a lyric prayer like in the Psalms. It’s Jonah’s prayer to God from the belly of the fish Jonah praises God in his prayers Jonah is delivered from the great fish via the vomit method o Chapter 3 God again tells Jonah to go to Nineveh He finally listens to God (head fake to Tarshish, smiles at God ) He speaks the prophecy against Nineveh They fast and repent God saves Nineveh from destruction o Chapter 4 Jonah is upset with God for saving Nineveh Jonah wants to die He has a dialog with God God teaches him a great lesson with a plant and a worm.