Expanded Biblical Comments / Ebc32 - Jonah

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Skeptics have long been inclined to treat the story of Jonah's experiences in the belly of the great fish as a seaman's yarn. Many pulpiteers even laugh at the account of Jonah's experiences as suitable only for the credulous and not for wise "Higher Critics." Nevertheless, the Great Teacher refers to Jonah and his experiences in the belly of the great fish, and those who believe the Scriptures will seek no better ground for their faith in the story than this. The exceptional character of Jonah's experience constituted him a type of Jesus, who, in death, was swallowed up of the earth, as was Jonah by the fish; and as our Lord was liberated from his prison house, so was Jonah. R4785:2

Suggestions regarding typical character of Jonah. R3568:1-5*

Jonah 1

Jonah 1:1

Jonah -- A type of Jesus. R4785:2

A sharp contrast to the other prophets along several lines: His character, disobedient and ignoble; his mission, to a heathen city; his success, unparalleled; his predictions, failed. R3568:2*

Perhaps, in his disobedience and fleeing from God, representing Adam, and hence also our Lord Jesus, who took the sinner's place. R3568:2*

Nevertheless a prophet of God, whose predictions at another time came true. (2 Kings 14:25) R3568:2*

He was from Gash-Hepher, in Galilee; a fact contradicted by the Pharisees in John 7:52 when they wished to gain a point of argument. R3568:2*

Jonah 1:2

Nineveh -- A great city outside the pale of Jerusalem and, therefore, at that time outside the lines of divine favor. R4785:3

Foreshadowed the world in the Millennial age. R3568:2*

Their wickedness -- Their iniquity had come to the full, and for them to live longer would be unwise. R4785:3

There is a limit to the divine permission of evil. R4785:3

Jonah 1:3

Rose up to flee -- Might represent Adam in his disobedience. R3568:2*

Jonah 1:4

A great wind -- May represent Satan, the "prince of the power of the air." (Eph. 2:2) R3568:3*

Tempest in the sea -- Representing the lawless mob which clamored for Christ's death. R3568:2*

The ship -- May represent the Roman government. R3568:4*

Jonah 1:14

Lay not upon us -- Might represent Pilate. R3568:4*

Innocent blood -- "I am innocent of the blood of this just man." (Matt. 27:24) R3568:4*

Jonah 1:15

They took up Jonah -- Representing in this the Lord Jesus. R3568:4*

And cast him forth -- Representing Christ's crucifixion. R3568:4*

Applicable to some extent to the members of Christ's Body. One government after another, like the Romans, has been compelled by God's nominal people to exterminate them, to cast them overboard. R3568:4*

Jonah 1:16

The men -- The crew might represent Pilate. R3568:4*

Offered a sacrifice -- As the crew prayed to be considered innocent, so Pilate washed his hands, declaring his innocence. R3568:4*

Jonah 1:17

Had prepared -- Prepared a special fish, either at the moment or long in advance. R4785:2

A great fish -- A special fish, not necessarily a whale. R4785:2

To swallow up Jonah -- A type of Jesus, who was swallowed up of the earth. R4785:2

While the throats of the majority of whales seem too small to admit a man, they are quite elastic. The great sulphur whale, of enormous size, is said to have a throat capable of swallowing a skiff. R4785:2

It has been reported that a sailor, overboard, was swallowed by "a great sulphur whale," but after several hours escaped. Another seaman had a similar experience during a whaling voyage. R4785:2, R3373:4

Three days and three nights -- Typifying our Lord's stay in the tomb and his resurrection on the third day. Also the fifth, sixth and seventh 1000-year days, during parts of which the Church was in the tomb. R3568:5*

Parts of three days. OV362:2

Important because this alone, of all the types, gives the exact length of Jesus' entombment. R4603:5

"He hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight." (Hos. 6:1-3) R92:6*

What is true of the glorification of the Church of Christ, as to time, has been shown to be true also of the restoration of Israel. R92:5*

Jonah 2

Jonah 2:1

Jonah prayed -- This prayer holds a type of the history of the nation of Israel since Jesus left their house desolate. R92:5*

Jonah 2:2

The belly of hell -- Sheol, oblivion, death--not torment. E374; OV362:2; R4603:2

Grave-belly, sheol-belly. SM520:1; OV362:2

The belly of the fish was, for a time, his tomb. R2599:2,6

Jonah had been in hell and came out. Also true of Christ, whose "soul was not left in hell." (Acts 2:31) HG556:5, HG735:1*

Jonah 2:10

Vomited out Jonah -- The Christ resurrected. R3568:5*

Jonah 3

Jonah 3:1

Jonah the second time -- Jonah would then represent the great prophet, and Nineveh, the world. R3568:5*

Jonah 3:4

Forty days -- May indicate the 1000 years of the world's trial time. R3568:5*

Often associated with a time of trial: Israel's 40 years in the wilderness; Christ's temptation of 40 days; the Jewish and Gospel Harvests, 40 years each. R3568:5*

possibly prophetic or symbolic time, a day for a year. R4785:5

Jonah 3:7

Herd nor flock -- It was commanded that the brute beast should participate in this fast before God. HG508:5

Jonah 3:8

Beast -- Not, as some say, the Negro, but the "herds and flocks" of verse 7. R3044:4; HG508:4

Jonah 3:10

God repented -- God's purposes do not change. He never repents of them, but he does change his conduct. He was pleased to have the Ninevites turn from their sins to hearty repentance. R4785:6

He did it not -- We understand that God, knowing the end from the beginning, knew that the Ninevites would repent and that he would not blot them out in 40 days in accordance with

Jonah's preaching. R4785:5

Jonah did not really fail. The old, the wicked Nineveh did perish. In its place came repentant Nineveh. So with the world. The wicked shall be destroyed, but all can have their wickedness cleansed and be spared. R3568:5*

Jonah 4

Jonah 4:1

It displeased Jonah -- Jonah was more interested in himself and his own reputation than in the Ninevites and their interest. R4785:6

The Lord's servants must not be so. R4785:6

How much greater is the compassion of the Almighty than that of his human servants. R4785:6

Perhaps, in his murmuring, only a practical lesson; perhaps representing a class that poses as God's mouthpiece, but who do not like the "Millennial nonsense" of having Nineveh spared. R3568:6*

May picture the nominal church in this Harvest time. R3568:5*

Jonah 4:6

Prepared a gourd -- May be a picture of the image of the beast. R3568:5*

Jonah 4:8

And the sun -- May illustrate the Gospel, the truth. R3568:6*

Jonah 4:10

Pity on the gourd -- The Lord taught Jonah a lesson respecting his sympathy for a gourd, an inanimate thing, and his lack of sympathy for the Ninevites. R4786:1

Similarly, many have sympathy for flowers, birds, animals, etc., but become angry at the suggestion that God will not eternally roast people. R4786:1

Jonah 4:11

Spare Nineveh -- Spare the poor world in the Times of Restitution. R3568:5*