Monday, December 28, 2009

Jonah 1:1-4 : Jonah and Jesus

Jonah 1:1-4 : Jonah and Jesus
Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amit'tai, saying, "Arise, go to Nin'eveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness has come up before me." But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish; so he paid the fare, and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD. But the LORD hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up.


That's why I am excited to share with you the latest Bible study on the Book of Jonah, which I've just finished teaching in my home on Sunday evenings. When I first announced that our next Bible study would be on Jonah, someone responded : 'But Scott, we already know about Jonah, he's the cowardly prophet that got swallowed by a whale. Right?' Not exactly.

For one thing, Jonah wasn't a coward, but a patriot. For another, nowhere is the "great fish" identified as a whale. In fact, a few other misconceptions were corrected as well. As a result, all of us came to a much deeper appreciation of Jonah, who probably is , after all, the best-known -- but least understood -- of all the Old Testament Prophets! " In this series, "we discover how this famous prophet only uttered one single prophecy, covering just one verse -- and it never even came true! Why not?

Well, hold on to your Bibles and get out your highlighters and notebooks because I am going to show you how the Book of Jonah is not just a parable with elements of satire, and it's not just an allegory. It's also "prophetic history," as demonstrated by several converging strands of evidence: from the OT historical books and the words of Jesus, through the writings of the rabbis and the Church Fathers. And like the prophets before him like Hosea, Ezekiel, and Jeremiah, Jonah prophesied through his actions as well as his words. The elements of the Jonah story--the fish, the plant that dies, the worm the east wind--are a prophecy "acted out."

In this series we'll look at why Jonah ran away when God sent him to Nineveh. Was he afraid of the cruelty of the Assyrians? Was Jonah a coward, afraid of Nineveh which was the capital of a brutal nation known for its terrorist tactics? Or did Jonah know through the words of other prophets that Assyria was destined to destroy Israel and therefore, being a patriot, didn't want to see them repent, but actually wanted to see them destroyed? But we are only beginning to scratch the surface. We'll look at why God gave Nineveh 40 days to repent and the significance of 40 in Scripture. I will also deal with the questions I know are burning in your mind like, 'Did Jonah actually get swallowed by a fish? Did he survive it, or did he die and then rise? Are there recorded instances of people surviving similar experiences?' I'll answer these questions as well as others you may not have thought to ask. Finally we'll examine the Jonah typology: What is the "sign of Jonah" that Jesus promised to the Pharisees (Mt 12:38-41)? How does the Jonah story parallel passages of Matthew's Gospel? and why did Jesus call Peter the "son of Jonah"? Jonah is not just a big fish story, as you'll learn. Do we have to believe that Jonah was swallowed by a whale--and survived? It's too fantastic. And yet, if we can't believe that, how can we believe that, say, a crucified Son of Man would rise from the dead? I know you will enjoy listening to this series as much as I enjoyed presenting it and I look forward to many more of these Bible studies with you in future series."

Your Brother in Christ,
Scott Hahn

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