Morgan Books



By Amos Morgan



Jonah the Prophet
Copyright © 2017 By Amos Morgan
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Jonah the Prophet

Jonah was a great preacher — so intense, so compelling. And God had a need for just such a preacher – he would send Jonah to Nineveh, a city of more than one hundred twenty thousand people who had lost their way and needed to repent. The message was "Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown".

Jonah thought quickly, if I preach that message to the people they will repent and God will spare them and so what I preached will never happen. Perhaps he thought that if he preached his doom's day message and it never came to pass it would hurt his reputation. It would look as if he preached and stirred the people up, but nothing happened. His answer to God was "No."

Well, God didn't take "no" for an answer. It was as if the gifts and callings of God are without repentance. How could Jonah prove to God that his final answer was "no"? If he got onto a ship, went across the sea into some foreign country, could that work? It was worth a try, the stress of trying to argue with God day and night was just too much – it was debilitating.

I think Jonah heaved a big sigh of relief when they cast off the ropes and pushed away from the dock; he would finally get away from God – it appeared to be the only way to make his "no" stick. Now he could get some sleep!

It's too hard to outsmart God; he will always have the final say. What Jonah didn't know was that he not only would cause Nineveh to repent and be spared, he would also become a type of Christ's entombment between the atoning death and his glorious resurrection! And since he would become a type, or shadow, of Christ's "Three days and three nights in the (tomb)" let's see what we can find by comparing the two events.

A severe storm began to toss the ship while Jonah was resting. Not just a little squall, it sounded more like a category II or category III hurricane from the description. Worrying that the ship might go down, the ship-master sent someone around to round-up all the passengers for a prayer meeting; it was perhaps a matter of life or death! Instead of joining the prayer meeting Jonah just told them he was the cause of the storm and suggested that if they threw him overboard the storm would die down.

In The Wars of the Jew by Flavius Josephus, book VI, chapter 9, paragraph 3 it tells us … "So these high priests, upon the coming of that feast which is called the Passover, when they slay their sacrifices, from the ninth hour till the eleventh, … found the number of sacrifices was two hundred and fifty-six thousand five hundred;" It is extremely interesting that this number of Pascal Lambs were all slaughtered by teams of Levites who then presented the blood to the priests while the true Lamb of God was hanging on the cross. It was during this two hour period (the ninth hour till the eleventh hour) that his blood stained Mt. Calvary for our redemption. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea must have paced themselves to remove Christ from the cross and reverently transported him to the site of the tomb, gotten the spices and grave clothes to the site, wrapped the body with the spices and get the stone rolled to the door all within the hour. We must remind ourselves that Jesus did not say he would be dead for three days and three nights, he said he would be in the (grave) three days and three nights and rise on the third day.

If Jonah was to be a type of Jesus entombment he would have had to go overboard at sunset. Remember Jesus said he would be in the (grave) for three days and three nights and rise on the third day. Have you ever stood on the deck of a ship in a hurricane? There are several ways to go overboard; 1) get caught by a gust of wind; 2) get washed overboard by a wave; 3) get tossed off your feet by a lurching ship tossed by mounting waves and wind gusts. How about if you could not keep a torch lit in the storm? Jonah had suggested they toss him overboard to still the storm, but he did not volunteer to throw himself into the sea, that was their job. The seamen did not actually want to throw Jonah overboard so they rowed hard and apparently waited as long as possible, trying to wait-out the storm. But night was coming and the ship might not make it through the storm until day-break and if they waited any longer it would be dark and that would greatly increase the danger to themselves by being out on the deck in the dark, so time was up! They braved the hurricane to toss him overboard while it was still light as the sun was going down. This is just one scenario of course but it is entirely possible. My guess is that it was on a Thursday afternoon when the storm rolled in and that it was Sunday morning when God told the fish to get Jonah back on land. The thought of God giving his only Son was never far from God's thoughts – he never forgets the tiniest detail when planning any event!

We all know that a man could not live for three hours, let alone for three days, if swallowed by a fish, but that is misreading the text; God prepared a fish to swallow Jonah and if he had prepared the fish to keep him down for thirty days instead of three days I have no doubt at all that he could have done just that. Jonah complained about the seaweeds being wrapped around his head, but apparently he didn't do anything about it. This leads me to believe that his arms were pinned to his side – no room to spare down there!

Jesus rose on the third day as he said; this was a blessing for Jonah, God spoke to the fish, it beached itself and vomited. Jonah was free again! At least he had decided that not going to Nineveh was not an option. We don't know about the prepared fish; maybe his job was over and he just lay there on the beach until he died or maybe the Lord commanded a giant 'sneaker' wave to wash him out to sea again. There is so much about this story that we don't know.



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