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The Sign of Jonah

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1default The Sign of Jonah on Sat Feb 28, 2009 11:42 am


Just what is the "sign of Jonah?" What does it have to do with you and your future?

"Show us a sign then we will believe you are the Messiah!" That was the question posed to Jesus by the religious leaders of His day. Those leaders were wondering if this man was this Messiah and they were demanding he prove it.

What did He do? He did give them a sign, telling them, (Matt.16:4) "A wicked and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign shall be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah."

Another gospel account records the words of Jesus: "This is an evil generation. It seeks a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of Jonah the prophet. For as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so also the Son of Man will be to this generation." (Luke 11:29-30)

That sign, if we can identify it, we will reveal the Savior of the world. Christ's miracles were amazing signs of God's power and ministry. His words testified of Him, (John 14:11). To the disciples of John the Baptists, Jesus showed signs of healing the sick and cleansing the lepers. Which the Messiah was prophesied to do, (Isa.61:1) Yet Christ said that hte primay sign to identify Him as the Messiah would be the "sign of Jonah."

What was the sign of Jonah and what does it have to with us today?

Repentance? A call to....

Some believe that the sign of Jonah was simple Jesus' call for those in His day to repent, because Jonah preached a call to repentance. See this: "Now the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me." (Jonah 1:1-2)

Later on in the text, we find that Jonah taught: "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. 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." (Jonah 3:4-5)

The inhabitants of Nineveh responded to Jonah's impassioned call to repentance. From the least to the greatest, all turned from their sinful lifestyle. "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." (Jonah 3:10)

Symbolic Resurrection....

Some say the sign of Jonah was a symbolic resurrection from the dead, which foreshadowed Christ's resurrection. After all, when Jonah fled on a ship, was thrown over-board and was swallowed whole by a giant sea creature. You would think he was as good as dead. What did he pray while inside the belly of this sea creature? "Then Jonah prayed to the LORD his Gd from the fish's belly. And he said: "I cried out to the LORD because of my affliction, and He answered me. Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and You heard my voice."(Jonah 2:1-2)
The Hebrew sheol can also be translated as "the grave." Jonah knew that without God's dramatic intervention, his life would be over. (Have you had a Jonah experience that changed your course? I have.)

Yet God freed Jonah from his horrible underwater prision. In a sense God brought Jonah back to life. Jonah described it: "For you cast me into the deep, into the heart of the seas, and the floods surrounded me; all Your billows and Your waves passed over me....The waters surrounded me, even to my soul; the deep closed around me; weeds were wrapped around my head. I went down to the moorings of the mountains; the earth with its bars closed behind me forever, yet You have brought up my life from the pit, O'LORD, my God." (Jonah 2:3, 5-6)
Jonah was figuratively resurrected from the dead, much as Christ was literally resurrected from the grave. Is this the sign of which Jesus spoke? Or is is something else?

Jesus' own words.....

If you look carefully at Jesus' own words, we can see the key behind the sign of Jonah. "But He answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matt.12:39-40)

Three days and three nights this is the sign Jesus gave to establish His Messiahship. Our Savior staked his very identity on what some might brush off as a seemingly trivial detail. (The second part of this teaching is how 3 days and 3 nights are literal and actual and NOT made up of a series of peices of days. As it does matter to know these things.)

Remember our Creator is a God of perfect timing. he gave exact instructions for keeping the Passover on time, (Ex.12:12, 22.) (It is important to study the festivals.) He gave human beings exact instructions for keeping a specific day of rest and worhsip, (Ex.20:8.) He instructs us to observe specific annual Holy Days throughout the year, (Lev.23.) When it comes to prophecy, He has perfect timing, knowing the "end from the beginning" (Isa.46:10). Indeed, the prophet Daniel foretold the timing of Christ's first coming, hundreds of years in advance (Dan.9:24-26). So we can understand that the death and resurrection of the Savior of the world occur with perfect timing.

Did the Pharisees understand what Jesus was saying about His time in the grave? Of course...After His death, they came to Pilate with an unusual request. "On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, saying, "Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deciever said, "After three days I will rise." (Matt.27:62-63)

I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to

2default Re: The Sign of Jonah on Sat Feb 28, 2009 12:55 pm


The chief priest and Pharisees feared that Christ's disciples might try to fake His resurrection, following the exact timetable He gave, thus continuing His influence even after His death. In response, Pilate authorized additional security to make sure the grave was not tampered with. (Matt.27:65-66)

Christ's audience understood the sign. But most did not want to believe it when Jesus was resurrected, and they did not accept Him as the Messiah.

It's important to understand how 3 days and 3 nights are actual 3 days and 3 nights. Timing is key and God works in perfect timing...You have to get to know the events of Passion week...I will put from the start of 14 Nisan to show 3 days and 3 nights.
*Nisan is the first month on the Jewish calendar
*Will begin with 3p.m. on the 14th of Nisan

IMPORTANT TO KNOW: The Jewish days are night first - then day...6p.m. the Jewish day begins.


I am nothing without Him. For He is my Savior and my light.
He brings me to a land of promise and flourishes my generations. He keeps me from harm and wakes my sleeping eyes.
For more information on A Walk Toward Jesus go to

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