THE SIGN OF THE PROPHET JONAH
In Matthew 12:38-40, the Bible says,
” Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign of thee”
” But he (Jesus) answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after bad sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah:
” 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”
Jesus likened what would eventually happen to him to what happened to Prophet Jonah. Who was Jonah and what happened to him?
Jonah was a Prophet, the son of Amittai. He was ordered by God to go to Nineveh and preach to them so they could repent so God’s wrath would not come upon them because their wickedness was much. Instead of going to Nineveh, Jonah went to Joppa and boarded a ship going to Tarshish to avoid the task God gave to him. There was a great tempest that those on board were afraid. They cast lots to know who the cause of the tempest was and it fell on Jonah. After they asked Jonah what they could do to make the sea become calm, Jonah advised them to throw him into the sea and they hearkened. Before Jonah got into the sea, God prepared a whale to swallow up Jonah. Jonah was alive in the belly of the whale for three days and three nights. He was recorded to have prayed out of the belly of the whale in the book of Jonah chapter 2.
Since Jesus said his sign shall be like that of Jonah, we can easily come to the conclusion that Jesus was not dead. Everyone who knew Jonah would have thought he had died for that three days and three nights he was in the belly of the fish likewise anyone who knew Jesus thought he was dead when he was miraculously saved by God before he was saved. We read in the gospel of Luke 24 how Jesus proved to them that he wasn’t dead, Luke 24,
“36 while they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, Peace be with you(Salam Alaykum).”
“37 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost”
“38 He said to them,” why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?
Jesus went on further to prove to them that he is not a ghost meaning he died not,
“39 look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”
What other proofs do we need that Jesus died not? Let us read further,
“40 when he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.”
“41 And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them,” Do you have anything here to eat?”
“42-43 they gave him a piece of broiled fish and he took it and ate it in their presence”
Anyone who believes Jesus died should be asked if ghosts do eat in their community. One may wonder why Jesus used “HEART OF THE EARTH” and not GRAVE or TOMB. Jesus used the word grave some passages of the bible. In Luke 11:44, we read,
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are as GRAVES which are not seen, and the men that walk over them are not aware of them”
Jesus said again in John5:28,
“Marvel not at this, for the hour is coming, in which all that are in the GRAVES shall hear his voice”
If Jesus actually intended to say he would be in the tomb or grave for three days and three nights, he would not have used heart of the earth. The Greek word for grave is “MNEMEION” while the Greek word for heart is “KARDIA”. Jesus used the grave in two places but when he was talking about what would eventually happen to him like Jonah, He used heart of the earth, not grave nor tomb. Since Jonah was not dead in the belly of the whale, could this be a clue to understanding what Jesus meant by heart of the earth? It is sad that many people perish due to lack of knowledge.