Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Sunday afternoon Bible study. This is our study in the Book of Jonah, Study #2. Let me read the first chapter of Jonah, from Jonah 1:1-17:
Now the word of JEHOVAH came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of JEHOVAH, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of JEHOVAH. But JEHOVAH sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not. And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou? And he said unto them, I am an Hebrew; and I fear JEHOVAH, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land. Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of JEHOVAH, because he had told them. Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them. Wherefore they cried unto JEHOVAH, and said, We beseech thee, O JEHOVAH, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O JEHOVAH, hast done as it pleased thee. So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. Then the men feared JEHOVAH exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto JEHOVAH, and made vows. Now JEHOVAH had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
I will stop reading there. I just recently learned something about the true historical account in the Book of Jonah that I did not know before. Mr. Camping did a series on Jonah and I listened to it again and Mr. Camping said that after Jonah was cast overboard and swallowed by the whale and then cast out onto dry ground three days later and that Jonah had more than likely gone back to Joppa. Then Mr. Camping speculated that Jonah may have found the mariners that had been onboard the ship and said, “Hey, do you remember me?”
But that did not make sense to me because I had always had a different picture in my mind concerning the story of Jonah: there was a great storm and he was cast overboard and he was in the whale’s belly for three days and three nights before he was vomited out on dry land; then I had in my mind that he was cast out on land near Nineveh and he just walked on dry land into the city of Nineveh. But that is not possible because he first went to Joppa, which was in Northern Israel on the seacoast. Remember that in the Book of Acts Peter was in Joppa and it was referred to as the seaside. Joppa was by the seacoast in the Northern part of Israel. I brought a map because it really helps and we can see the Northern coast of Israel and Joppa and then there is the Mediterranean Sea and Joppa seems to be way across the Mediterranean Sea. Then landlocked North of Israel is Nineveh because Syria is above Israel to the North. So Jonah fled (from God) into a ship on the Mediterranean Sea and no matter where he was cast out on land, it could not possibly have been the land of Syria or anywhere near Nineveh, so he would have had to travel by land to get to Nineveh.
So, for the first time, I realized the picture in my mind was wrong. I hope that as we go through this, we will learn a little bit more about the history as well as the spiritual meaning of this.
In our last study we looked at Jonah 1:1:
Now the word of JEHOVAH came unto Jonah the son of Amittai…
The name Jonah is the same Hebrew word for “dove.” The word translated as “Jonah” is Strong’s #3124, and “dove” is Strong’s #3123, so they are virtually the same word. If you look it up in Strong’s Concordance, you can see the Hebrew letters and the vowel points and you will see they are the same. We mentioned in the last study that God likens the Holy Spirit to a “dove.” We read that the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus as a “dove” in all the Gospel accounts. So by his name, we would know it may have some meaning that links with the Holy Spirit.
Jonah is the son of “Amittai.” Does anyone know what that means? It means “truth.” It is Strong’s #573 and it is from Strong’s #571. So Jonah, the “dove,” is the son of “truth.” It says in John 16:13:
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth…
It is the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, that is the Spirit of truth, so this is a second proof that Jonah is a type and picture of the Holy Spirit. His name means “dove” and he is the son of “truth,” so he identifies with truth just like the Holy Spirit.
Jonah was commanded to go to Nineveh two times. We talked about how that relates to the two outpourings of the Holy Spirit. In chapter 1 it is the first time he was commanded to go to Nineveh and then it also says in Jonah 3:1-2:
And the word of JEHOVAH came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.
So two times God instructed Jonah to go to Nineveh. There is a way of looking at this that we can relate it to the two outpourings of the Holy Spirit and each one began with a Jubilee Year. We talked about that. In 7BC Jesus was born in a Jubilee Year. The first outpouring of the Holy Spirit really began then with the birth of Christ into the human race. Then in 1994AD it was another Jubilee Year when Christ poured out the Latter Rain.
We use different expressions, but it is really saying the same thing. The second outpouring of the Holy Spirit is the same as the second Jubilee. It was the second time that the Lord began to evangelize the inhabitants of the earth in a worldwide manner. He did it the first time in 33AD, which was a part of Christ’s first coming and He did it a second time at the end of the church age at the dividing point of the Great Tribulation on September 7, 1994. It was the second outpouring of the Holy Spirit or the second time that the “dove” went to the world, as Nineveh is a type and figure of the world – God commanded the “dove” to go to the world two times.
It is interesting that in the Book of Jonah, chapters one and two identify with the first outpouring and chapters three and four identify with the second outpouring. For instance, when God came to Jonah, the son of truth, and commanded him to go to Nineveh and to cry against it, it identifies with the birth of Christ in 7BC, a Jubilee Year. Then after all the events of chapter 1 when Jonah is cast into the sea and swallowed by the whale, at the end of chapter 2 he is spit out by the whale onto dry ground. What would that point to but the resurrection of Christ? Jesus said, “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.” We can work out this time reference, historically: Thursday night in the Garden of Gethsemane; Friday night in the tomb; Saturday night in the tomb; and early Sunday morning when Christ resurrected. After three days and three nights He arose from the dead and He came out of “the heart of the earth,” just like Jonah came out of the whale’s belly after three days and three nights. So after Jonah was spit out, it identifies with the resurrection of Jesus in 33AD, so Jonah, chapters one and two basically covers from 7BC to 33AD or 40 calendar years. It is 39 actual years, but from the coming of Christ in 7BC, a Jubilee Year, until He was resurrected in 33AD is 40 calendar years.
In Jonah, chapter 3 God commanded Jonah the second time to go to Nineveh and God not only told him to go to Nineveh, but He told him exactly what to preach – yet 40 days and Nineveh would be overthrown. So we have an interesting parallel with Jonah chapters one and two and Jonah chapters three and four. Spiritually, the first two chapters cover a span of 40 years, the first coming of Christ. It is interesting that when we look at our present time and the timeline we have come to understand, it follows the pattern of the first coming of Christ exactly, in some ways. Christ came in a Jubilee year and 1994 was also a Jubilee Year. From 7BC to the cross was 40 years. From 1994 to 2033 (a year that could be a significant date for the end of the world), it is 40 years inclusive and 39 actual years and it matches the figure of the first coming of Christ. In other words, God could be telling us (with the timeline of forty days in Jonah) the time period from the second outpouring of the Holy Spirit until the end, at which time we would enter into a (spiritual) thousand-year period because the end of the world starts a figurative thousand-year period or the “completeness of all eternity.” Likewise, when Christ went to the cross Satan was bound for a figurative “thousand years.” So the church age was likened to a “thousand-year” period. It was that 40 calendar years or a thousand-year figurative period representing the church age. There is possibly a 40-year period (inclusive) from 1994 to 2033, followed by that “thousand years,” which would represent all eternity future. That is one way we could look at it.
Let us go back to Jonah and read Jonah 1:3:
But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of JEHOVAH, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of JEHOVAH.
Jonah was commanded by God in the previous verse to go to Nineveh and cry against it because their wickedness had come up before God.
Was Jonah a true child of God? Yes, he was a true man, a man without guile. He had a new heart and a new spirit. God would not have used him in this way and Jesus would not have made reference to him in the way He did in the New Testament if Jonah was not a faithful prophet. Jonah was a saved man and God came to him and wanted him to do something. What does the child of God do when God gives a command? He obeys.
When God commanded Isaiah to walk “naked and barefoot” for three years, what did Isaiah do? He obeyed. What a difficult thing to obey. It amounted to just a few verses in Isaiah, chapter 20, but it was significant and according to God’s will, so Isaiah did it.
When God commanded Abraham to offer his son Isaac up as a sacrifice, if anyone wanted to run away from God at a command that would have been a strong temptation to grab your son and run. That would be when you would “go to Tarshish,” so to speak, because God wanted Abraham to sacrifice his own son. But Abraham did not do that; he obediently took his son and trusted that God would raise him up or resurrect him.
We can go through the Bible and find all kinds of faithful accounts of true believers that were obedient to God’s command and they followed through and did them. Why did this not apply to Jonah? Was he just a rebel? No, he was saved. The answer is that when any child of God does something that God commands us to do, we are only obedient because of what it says in Philippians 2:13:
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
So when God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his son, why was Abraham able to obey? It is because God works in man to obey faithfully. It is the same thing with Isaiah or Jeremiah or any of the prophets in the Bible that were obedient to the commandments of God. It is the same thing with us when we do anything in accord with, or in obedience to, the commandments of God. It is because God works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure.
So what does this mean in regard to Jonah? It means that God did not move in him to be obedient to the command to go to Nineveh and preach against it the first time, but the second time after Jonah came out of the whale, Jonah did go to Nineveh and do what God wanted him to do. At that point, God was moving in him to will and to do according to His good pleasure. God did not work in Jonah to obey Him the first time and it is obvious He did not. If God does work in you or me to do His will, guess what we are going to do – we are going to do His will. We are going to be obedient. We may not like it and, obviously, Jonah had some problems with going to Nineveh and preaching to them, but if God wanted him to do it the first time he would have done it. Of course, God wanted him to do it, in one sense, but if God would have moved in him to do it, Jonah would have done it.
You know, the Bible says that God draws people against their will. It says in John 6:44: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.” That word “draw” is a word that indicates something done with force. It means that God drags a person to Him against that person’s will.
God did not cause Jonah to obey the first time and that means that God was allowing Jonah to rebel in order to paint a picture of what happened in Jonah, chapter 1. The stormy sea came and the tempestuous winds and the ship was about to be broken. All those things were according to God’s will and purpose and in order for it to happen Jonah had to stubbornly refuse to go to Nineveh.
This also helps us to understand that before the Holy Spirit could not have been poured out the first time on the day of Pentecost in 33AD unless Jesus had first suffered and died on the cross in order to demonstrate the things He had done. In other words, when God commanded Jonah to go to Nineveh, it is like saying, “Go into the world with the Gospel,” but Christ had not yet demonstrated and made manifest that He had paid for the sins of His people, so the Gospel could not go out until Christ first suffered and died. Jesus suffered according to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. It had to take place first and then after this took place, there was the pouring out of the Holy Spirit.
So what is in view with the command to go to Nineveh and Jonah’s refusal is to paint the picture that Christ had to first suffer and die as the sacrifice for sin and rise again before the Gospel could go into the world, which Nineveh represents.
Then it goes on to say in Jonah 1:3:
But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of JEHOVAH, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of JEHOVAH.
Why did Jonah flee to Joppa from the presence of JEHOVAH to find a ship going to Tarshish? The word “Tarshish” is the same Hebrew word as we find in Ezekiel 28:13:
Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.
The word “beryl” is the same word translated as “Tarshish.” This passage refers to mankind that was created in the Garden of Eden, the garden of God, and “Tarshish” identifies with man, the one that was created beautiful. Actually, the word “Joppa” is a word that means “beautiful.” Jonah went to “Joppa” and got on a ship to travel to “Tarshish” and it is really language to indicate that Christ emptied Himself of His glory and entered into the human race. The phrase here that “Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of JEHOVAH,” identifies with the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve sinned in Genesis 3:6-11:
And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. And they heard the voice of JEHOVAH God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of JEHOVAH God amongst the trees of the garden. And JEHOVAH God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?
In verse 8 Adam and Eve hid themselves “from the presence of JEHOVAH.” Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish “from the presence of JEHOVAH.” Then it says, again, in the last part of verse 3: “…to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of JEHOVAH.” Since mankind’s fall into sin, he has been going away from the presence of God – he prefers the darkness. Man is going away from God and hiding himself. When Jesus became man He took upon Himself a human nature and He went with mankind away from God from the presence of JEHOVAH. That is the main point God is making here, but “Tarshish” also does represent the outward representation of the kingdom of God on earth: national Israel and the New Testament corporate church.
When Jesus came to earth as man, He was not born in South America or in the Pacific Islands, but He was born a Jew and He was born into the corporate body of national Israel. Tarshish is a type of Israel of old and it can also be a type of the New Testament churches and congregations. It says in Isaiah 60:9:
Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, to bring thy sons from far, their silver and their gold with them, unto the name of JEHOVAH thy God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he hath glorified thee.
The “ships of Tarshish” are involved in bringing the sons of God from afar, just as the Gospel went forth through Israel (in a limited way) and through the New Testament churches (in a greater way) and God’s children were brought in through the hearing of the Word of God.
Going back to our verse, Jonah had to pay the “fare” in order to enter into the ship. It is the same word used in Zechariah 11:12-13:
And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And JEHOVAH said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of JEHOVAH.
The word “price” is the same word as “fare” in our verse. Jonah paid the “price” in order to enter into the ship to travel to Tarshish. What price did Christ have to pay before He entered into the world? He had to die for the sins of His elect at the world’s foundation before the world began. He bore the sins of all the elect and He paid the price on their behalf and that penalty was death. He arose from the dead victoriously, declared to be the Son of God. So this was the “price” that Christ had to pay in order to come into the world a “second time” …actually, the language of the Bible does not indicate a “second time” when Jesus entered into the world, according to Hebrews 9:25:
Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
Jesus was not like the earthly priests that had to make offering, year after year. He only had to do it once. Then we are told in the next verse when that one occasion took place, as it says in Hebrews 9:26:
For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world…
The word “since” is the Greek word “apo” which is often translated as “from.” Christ suffered from the foundation of the world – that was the one time He was making payment for sin. That is when the “price” or “fare” was paid for the sins of His people.
Then it says in the next part of Hebrews 9:26:
It is talking now about a different matter. It is no longer talking about the payment for sin, but it is now going to tell us about the (earthly) demonstration of what He had already done. Again, it says in Hebrews 9:26:
…but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
The word “appeared” is the word that means to be “made manifest.” This is where God catches people. They see that He suffered once and then it says that he appeared “once” to put away sin and they think it is referring to the same thing, but it is not. Christ made payment once at the foundation of the world. He entered into the human race how many times? Just once. How many times did He demonstrate on the cross what He had done from the foundation of the world? Just once. That is what it is saying when it says, “but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”
This is what is in view with Jonah as he flees from Tarshish from the presence of JEHOVAH and he is going with them (mankind) from God’s presence. Jonah is making this appearance and in this picture he is entering into Israel, the corporate body. Tarshish or the ships of Tarshish represent the corporate body of national Israel. Look at what happens in Jonah 1:4-6:
But JEHOVAH sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.
When we read of this storm at sea and the ship is “like to be broken,” what does it remind us of? It reminds us of Acts, chapter 27 in the account of the ship at sea. It says in Acts 27:14-18:
But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive. And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat: Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven. And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship;
They did the same thing with the ship in Jonah, chapter 1. They began to throw the wares overboard because they were caught in a tempest of strong winds and raging seas and it was very dangerous.
It goes on to say in Acts 27:19-20:
And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship. And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.
Then it says in Acts 27:41-44:
And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves. And the soldiers' counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape. But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land: And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.
This ship was broken. It never made it to land. It was torn apart and there were planks of wood drifting and the people on board grabbed hold and made it safely to the island of Malta. We know that this chapter pictures the end of the church age because God typifies the churches as a “ship.” Remember what it says in 1Timothy 1:19:
Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
What does faith have to do with a “shipwreck”? Supposedly, the churches have “faith” because they have Christ, but when God departs from them and brings judgment upon them, they are said to be “shipwreck.”
Then it goes on to say in 1Timothy 1:20:
Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.
This is exactly what happened to the New Testament corporate church when God loosed Satan and delivered the churches to him and they were immediately “shipwreck.” Faith was made “shipwreck” because Christ had departed.
If the churches are represented by a ship (and they are) and if national Israel was represented by a ship (and it was), what is the difference? The difference is that the ship in Jonah, chapter 1 was not made “shipwreck.” It survived the storm and it did not break apart like the ship in Acts, chapter 27. Remember how God spoke of the two corporate bodies as vineyards? We read in Matthew 21 and in Isaiah 5 of those two vineyards. The vineyards in Matthew, chapter 21 was not destroyed. Let us take a look at that in Matthew 21:38-39:
But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
Who killed the Son? Was it the New Testament church? No – it was Israel. Israel had the vineyard and they seized the Son and killed him. Then it said in Matthew 21:40-41:
When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
So the vineyard was not destroyed in 33AD – it was turned over to the newly forming New Testament churches. They became the vineyard.
You know, only God could write the Bible this way. In the New Testament He tells us about Israel and in the Old Testament He tells us about the churches. Just to confuse things even more, we read of a vineyard in Isaiah, chapter 5 and it is actually a figure of the New Testament churches. In the first few verses God details all He did to make the vineyard profitable, but it brought forth wild grapes. It says in Isaiah 5:5-6:
And now go to; I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up; and break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down: And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it.
Here, the New Testament churches have their hedges taken away and their walls broken down – they are destroyed. The vineyard is ruined.
That is how it is with the “ships.” When the ship is destroyed in Acts, chapter 27 it was a representation of the New Testament churches because they were destroyed instead of being turned over to another entity. When Israel was the vineyard, it was theirs for almost 2,000 years and then it was turned over to the churches to occupy it – there was a transfer. But at the end of the church age, there was no other entity. Are we the keepers of the vineyard? No, because God is not using corporate bodies, but He is dealing individually with people.
It was that way with vineyards and it is that way with ships. For instance, let us look at 2Chronicles 20:35-37:
And after this did Jehoshaphat king of Judah join himself with Ahaziah king of Israel, who did very wickedly: And he joined himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish: and they made the ships in Eziongeber. Then Eliezer the son of Dodavah of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah, JEHOVAH hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish.
This is a picture of the end of the church age. It is a picture of judgment on the churches because the ship was broken.
We do not see that in Jonah, chapter 1. The storm is raging and there is a tempestuous wind. They are going to seemingly perish, but it is not the end of the ship. Instead, they lift up Jonah and throw him overboard and the seas were calm again. What else does this remind us of? It reminds us of the Gospel account when Jesus was on board a ship with his disciples and a storm arose. Notice the many similarities between this true historical account and what happened to Jonah. It says in Matthew 8:23-24:
And when he was entered into a ship, his disciples followed him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
What was Jonah doing when he was onboard the ship? He was sleeping. The mariner came in and said in Jonah 1:5-6:
But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? Arise…
In Matthew, the Lord Jesus is in a tempest at sea and he is sleeping.
Then it goes on to say in Matthew 8:25:
And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish.
This is very similar to what was said to Jonah, in Jonah 1:6:
What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.
They were also fearful for their lives and believed they would perish. Then it says in Matthew 8:26-27:
And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!
Jesus spoke and calmed the winds and sea, but He was drawing on the events in the Book of Jonah. If we look at the parallel account in Mark, chapter 4, it says in Mark 4:33-34:
And with many such parables spake he the word unto them, as they were able to hear it. But without a parable spake he not unto them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.
The Lord did not speak without a parable. What is the definition of a “parable”? We know the entire Bible is a parable. Is the whole Bible an earthly story with a heavenly meaning? Yes, it is in one way, but it is not like the spoken parables that Christ spoke because then it would leave us wondering how verses like John 3:16 are a parable. The actual definition of a parable is that which “serves to hide truth.” Does the whole Bible serve to hide truth? Did Jesus’ parables serve to hide truth? How about the Book of Proverbs and the Book of Job? All Scripture serves to hide truth and they are the “mysteries” of the Word of God.
After it said that “without a parable he did not speak,” we go right into the account of the storm at sea. This is very helpful to us because it guides us to look at the deeper spiritual, parabolic meaning, as it says in Mark 4:35-36:
And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships.
I never really keyed in on the fact that there were “other little ships.” You can imagine how difficult it would have been because the storm was not just affecting Jesus’ ship, but it was happening to all the other disciples and followers in little ships. They were attempting to “pass over unto the other side.” Let us turn over to Joshua, chapter 3 where they have come to the point of entering into the Promised Land of Canaan. Notice the language of “passing over,” in Joshua 3:1:
… they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.
Then it says in Joshua 3:4:
Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.
They had not passed over Jordan. They had not passed over to the Promised Land. Then it says in Joshua 3:11:
Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.
Then it says in Joshua 3:16-17:
… and the people passed over right against Jericho. And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.
The language of “passing over” identifies with entering into the kingdom of heaven or the new heaven and new earth.
In the account of the storm it said, “Let us pass over unto the other side.” In order to “pass over” the sea, you have to go through the storm. The storm is going to rage and the storm identifies with God’s wrath. When the storm destroyed the ship in Acts 27, it was a picture of the wrath of God against the churches and congregations because judgment begins at the house of God. Jesus is passing over in this parable and Jesus stills the storm with His Word, but it is really reverting back to the Book of Jonah and the Book of Jonah is filling us in on what has to take place in order that the storm cease its raging and be calm. Let me read, again, Mark 4:37-41:
And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?
We can even see the response of the mariners here. The disciples feared exceedingly. What happened with the mariners once they took up Jonah to cast overboard? Let us read Jonah 1:11-16:
Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. Nevertheless the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not: for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous against them. Wherefore they cried unto JEHOVAH, and said, We beseech thee, O JEHOVAH, we beseech thee, let us not perish for this man's life, and lay not upon us innocent blood: for thou, O JEHOVAH, hast done as it pleased thee. So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. Then the men feared JEHOVAH exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the LORD, and made vows.
They feared JEHOVAH exceedingly, just like the disciples feared Christ exceedingly when He said, "Peace be still.” It was a demonstration of the mighty power of God. In order for Jesus to quiet the storm, He had to pay the penalty that the Law of God demanded.
I think we are going to stop here. This is one of the most difficult chapters in Jonah because of the language related to the ship and how it can relate to the churches and Israel. Lord willing, we will spend at least one more study looking at Jonah, chapter 1 before we get into chapter 2 and the “atoning work” in view there.