the sign of Jonah…

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We have all heard the ole’ adage “seeing is believing”, but I have not found that to be true when it comes to the spiritual realm.

In the Gospel of Matthew 12:22-24, one is brought unto Jesus who was possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and He healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.

Matthew goes on and states “all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils.” Now ‘all the people’ and the ‘Pharisees’ saw the same event, but their take on what had just happened before their very eyes was quite different.

Following this miraculous event of the man possessed with the devil, the religious folk make the following request…

 

Mat 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.
Mat 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.

 
In essence the religious folk were thinking, if they could see a mighty work from Jesus, it would assure them of who He said He was, but Jesus told them to be looking for THE SIGN of the prophet Jonah. Now no speculation is needed as to what the sign was? “For as Jonah 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”.

So how did the religious leaders handle ‘this sign of Jonah’…?

Resurrection Sunday-

Mat 28:11  Now when they (the followers of Christ) were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done.
Mat 28:12  And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers,
Mat 28:13  Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept.
Mat 28:14  And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you.

The events of the resurrection were met with the same willful spiritual ignorance as when the man was brought unto Him that was possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and He healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw. Even though the sign was openly manifest, the religious folk could NOT comprehend.

Some time later the Pharisees and Sadducees prompted Jesus again that He might show them a sign. Again Jesus responds that the only sign that will be given is THE SIGN of the prophet Jonah.

Mat 16:1  The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.
Mat 16:2  He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.
Mat 16:3  And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?
Mat 16:4  A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

Now it would be easy for one to think that Jesus was referring to the “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”.

I beg to differ. I think there is another sign associated with Jonah that can only be gleaned when one studies the actual account of Jonah being sent of God to that great and wicked city of Nineveh.

If you are familiar with the story you remember that Jonah did not go at first, when he was instructed of God to preach the pending judgment of Nineveh, he instead went to Joppa and boarded a ship headed to Tarshish.  It was along this journey that Jonah was introduced to the great fish and spent three days and three nights in its belly before being regurgitated back to life.

Now when he finally arrives at Nineveh after his intended cruise to Tarshish, he begins a three day journey preaching the pending judgment of God upon the city in forty days. Now there is not one mention in the scripture of any mighty work that Jonah did other than to preach the message that God had sent him to preach.

So what other sign of Jonah would have manifested itself in Nineveh? Simply the fact my friend, that when Nineveh heard of God’s most certain judgment, they BELIEVED and repented and turned from their wickedness. They simply believed that Jonah was a prophet of God, and the word of God spoken by Jonah was TRUE!

With regard to the religious leaders of Jesus’ day, they heard, yet their minds were immersed in a spiritual stupor and refused to believe. The Messiah was standing before their very eyes, having proved His validity with undeniable signs and wonders, but they did not believe, that the prophecy might be fulfilled… “he hath blinded their eyes and hardened their heart; that they should not see with their eyes, nor understand with their heart and be converted”.

It is my opinion that if you do not desire the later sign, you can not and would not believe the former.

My friend, do you know Him? Have you ever heard of Him? There is no other name given under heaven, whereby men may be saved.

brother malachi

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    "Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me." Martin Niemoller

    Who will speak for those who can't speak for themselves?

    “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, ‘But we knew nothing about this’, does not He who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not He who guards your life know it? Will not He repay each one according to what he has done?” Proverbs 24:11-12