THE SIGN OF JONAH
Just what exactly did the Saviour mean when He said, "An evil an adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah: for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whales belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Matthew 12:39, 40 ?
Earlier the Pharisees accused YAHUSHUA of casting out devils through Baalzebub the prince of devils. YAHUSHUA said, "But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of Elohim, then the Kingdom of Elohim is come unto you." Matthew 12:28. The Pharisees continued questioning Him and said, "Master we would see a sign from Thee. But He answered 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 Jonah." Matthew 12:38, 39. Notice YAHUSHUA said that "no sign shall be given to it", but one! Was it that He would be in the grave for three days and three nights? What kind of sign is that?
"Why seek ye Him that liveth among the dead? He is not here, but is risen." Luke 24:5, 6 margin
"He is not the Elohim of the dead, but the Elohim of the living: ye therefore greatly err." Mark 12:27
The parallel account to Matt. 12:40 is in Luke, he puts it this way, "This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of Jonah the prophet. For as Jonah was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall the Son of man be to this generation." Luke 11:29, 30
Notice that Jonah himself was a sign to the Ninevites, he protested against their wickedness and called them to repentance.
YAHUSHUA continued to expound, "The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and, behold a greater than Jonah is here." Matthew 12:41
Jonah himself was a sign to his wicked generation; and YAHUSHUA was a sign to the evil and adulterous generation in His day. And what shall be said for today's generation, who will not believe the Scriptures, yet use it as a pretense of being religious?
YAHUSHUA called Israel to repentance for THREE years! (Great Controversy p. 20, See also Desire of Ages chapter 44 entitled "The True Sign!")
This three years was foretold in Scripture! What a Sign! Sixty nine prophetic weeks from the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem 457 B.C. pointed to the baptism of YAHUSHUA the MESSIAH which was in the autumn around the Day of Atonement A.D. 27. Then immediately He was driven into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit, there He fasted for 40 days, this would extend into the ninth month Chasleu, recovery time, as those who have done it know, is a while also.
Remember when YAHUSHUA and His disciples were called to the marriage in Cana of Galilee? As the story goes on they ran out of wine, and YAHUSHUA's mother came to Him and said, "They have no wine. YAHUSHUA saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come." John 2:3, 4
This shows that His ministry of calling Israel to repentance had not started yet!
About the time He began calling to repentance was at the time of the Feast of , Passover, when He came to the temple and beheld the money changers, and that sold sheep, oxen, doves etc.. And YAHUSHUA said "unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not My Fathers house an house of merchandise." John 2:16
"Then answered the Jews and said unto Him, What sign shewest Thou unto us, seeing that Thou doest these things? YAHUSHUA answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." John 2:18, 19.
This is the same sign He was talking about to the Pharisees, the sign that He was calling to repentance for THREE prophetic days, (See also Luke 13:7, 32)
YAHUSHUA was, "working salvation in the midst of the earth." Psalm 74:12
(Compare the Hebrew expression heart or midst of the earth in Gen. 48:16; Deut 19:2 and Psalm 46:2 margin) For THREE years!
Also near the end of His ministry, "YAHUSHUA went into the temple of Elohim, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money changers, and them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." Matthew 21:12, 13.
These events of cleansing the temple of merchants marked the beginning and ending of His ministry!
YAHUSHUA was crucified in the heart of the 70th prophetic week, according to the Old Testament prophecy in Daniel. This is the sign that He was the true Messiah, in that He came to fulfill the law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17).
It wasn't until Matthew 16:21 that YAHUSHUA began to reveal to His disciples "how He must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and the chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day."
Would YAHUSHUA reveal it to the hypocritical Pharisees before He would reveal it to His disciples? Of course not! "Surely the Sovereign YAHUWAH will do nothing, but revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets." Amos 3:7
He would reveal these things to His disciples first. This means that Matthew 12:40 is not referring to a literal three day and three nights in the grave! But His ministry in the midst or heart of the earth.
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