We are continuing our study in the Book of Jonah, which we last looked at during the Towson Conference in Maryland. To begin with, I am going to read Jonah 4:1:
But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry.
I want to clarify some things because there was something I said at the Towson Conference that was incorrect about this verse. This is one of the most difficult verses in the Bible because it is poorly translated. I was wrong in saying that the interlinear had done a better job translating it than the King James Bible. In fact, regarding Jonah 4:1, the Interlinear Bible is wrong. The Strong’s Concordance is wrong and the King James translation is wrong. Why would God permit this? (I hope no one thinks I am saying that the Hebrew text is wrong. It is correct and true and every ‘jot and tittle’ is perfect.) But as far as the numbering in Jay Green’s Interlinear Bible, it was incorrect regarding the word “displeased.” Strong’s Concordance identifies this as a compound word, which is also wrong. In the King James translation, the word “displeased” is not an incorrect translation, but the Hebrew word they translated as “displeased” can also be translated as “grievous” or “evil.” The translators were right about that, but they were wrong about almost everything else in that verse, like when they said, “and he was very angry.” That is not accurate. The Interlinear Bible said, “It was a great calamity to Jonah’s eye.” So, both the King James and the interlinear were not accurate.
The accurate translation of Jonah 4:1 would say, “But it grieved Jonah and it was a great evil to him.” It was a great evil to Jonah, so the word translated as “displeased” would be more accurately translated as “grieved” in this case. Remember, the situation and context is that it refers back to Jonah 3:10:
And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.
Then in Jonah 4:1, it should say, “But it grieved Jonah and it was a great evil to him.” The evil that God intended to pour out on the Ninevites was transferred, as it were, to Jonah, as a type and picture of Christ. That is the spiritual picture.
Let me just say this. This can get complicated, but the simplest thing to look at is that the Hebrew word used in Jonah 4:1 is #5869 in the interlinear, which is a word for “eye” or “sight” and that is not the correct word. The word for “eye” or “sight” has the Hebrew letters “AIN,” “JOD” and “NUN.” If anyone wants to look at the Hebrew letters, Psalm 119 gives the Hebrew alphabet and the King James Bible tells you how to pronounce each Hebrew letter. The word #5869 is not the word in our text. The word in our text are the letters, “VAU,” “JOD,” “RESH” and “AIN.”
The Strong’s Concordance says that it is a compound word, comprised of #5869 and #7489, but that is also incorrect, so if you look up the word “displeased” in the Strong’s Concordance, it will indicate #5869 and #7489.
The only ones that got this right was the Englishman’s Concordance. It is #3415. If you look it up, it will give you all the places this Hebrew word is found, including Jonah 4:1. Other ways it is translated are “evil,” “grieve” or “grievous.” That is our word.
So, we needed to correct this, but it does not change the spiritual meaning of what we discussed in our last study. The word for “eye” is also not in the original text and at the Towson conference we went with that idea because there is a Scripture in the New Testament that says, “But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness.” At the conference, we went in that direction, but other than that, everything else was correct, including the teaching that Jonah is a spiritual picture of Christ who is bearing the sins of the Ninevites, a picture of the elect of God.
Then it says in Jonah 4:2:
And he prayed unto JEHOVAH, and said, I pray thee, O JEHOVAH, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country?...
Spiritually, the “country” would refer to the kingdom of heaven, the “country” of the Lord Jesus.
It goes on to say in Jonah 4:2:
…Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil.
Fleeing to Tarshish represents Christ entering the human race and becoming a man. God turned the evil He intended for the Ninevites to Jonah, spiritually.
Then it says in Jonah 4:3:
Therefore now, O JEHOVAH, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.
This is as though the Lord Jesus is speaking and, of course, it was better that He should die than to live because He died for everyone He intended to save.
So, this brings us up to the point where we left off at the Towson Conference, so let us go on to Jonah 4:4-11:
Then said JEHOVAH, Doest thou well to be angry? So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city. And JEHOVAH God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered. And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live. And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death. Then said JEHOVAH, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?
Here, we have an interesting passage concerning the booth and the gourd. Jonah went out of the city and built a booth. If you remember, this all tied in to Jonah and his name, which means “dove” in the Hebrew. Jonah was sent a second time to Nineveh. Nineveh is a picture of the world and Jonah is a picture of the Holy Spirit. And when did God sent the Holy Spirit the second time into the world? It was in the year 1994, a Jubilee Year, and it was the second outpouring of the Holy Spirit. The first outpouring of the Holy Spirit began in 33 A.D. on the Day of Pentecost and that prolonged Jubilee period lasted for 1,955 years from 33 A.D. to 1988. Then there was the grievous famine of 2,300 evening mornings, a period that was in between the Jubilees, and a period in which virtually no one became saved. Then on September 7, 1994, the trumpet of the Jubilee sounded and God stretched forth His hand the second time to recover the remnant of His people.
So, we can mark Jonah, chapter 3 and the first few verses where God commands Jonah to go to Nineveh the second time as the date of 1994. We also saw that it was interesting that God said to Jonah, in Jonah 3:2:
Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.
And what preaching did God bid Jonah to preach? The message was: “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” We saw that 40 days can identify with 40 years.
So, Jonah went into the city a day’s journey and then he went outside of the city on the east and he built a booth and waited. He went to the east side of the city because that is the direction of the kingdom of God, the direction from which Christ comes.
We saw that he went a day’s journey and then he left the city and that would leave 39 days. We saw that interesting relationship between the numbers “39” and “40.” And we found that from 1994 through the year 2033 is 40 inclusive years, but 39 actual years. The first thing Jonah did when he went outside the city was to build a booth. When we looked up the word “booth” in Leviticus, chapter 23, God informed us that the reason Israel was to observe the Feast of Tabernacles was to commemorate their coming out of Egypt and dwelling in the wilderness for 40 years. During that entire 40-year period, they lived in booths. So, we have that connection between the number “40” and a booth. Even with Israel’s dwelling 40 years in the wilderness, it was identifying with 40 days because the spies had searched out the land for 40 days and because of their evil report they were required to wander in the wilderness for 40 years, a year for each day.
Again, it says in Jonah 4:5:
So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city.
Do you remember what the booth identified with and represents? It identifies with the Word of God. It says in Isaiah 4:5-6:
And JEHOVAH will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain.
The word “tabernacle” is the Hebrew word also translated as “booth.” It was a covert from storm and rain and that is exactly why Jonah built the booth and the next thing we read about is that the sun was beating down upon him, so Isaiah 4 is related to this booth that Jonah built.
Then we read something strange. After reading that Jonah built a booth and sat under it in the shadow, we read in Jonah 4:6:
And JEHOVAH God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd.
By the way, the word “grief” is the same word translated as “evil” in Jonah 3:10 and Jonah 4:1. So, the booth gave him shadow and so did the gourd. I guess if it was a hot day, he would have had some shadow with the booth, but the gourd also added shade. And the “gourd” would have to be a plant, but that word is only found five times in the Bible and they all appear in this chapter, so we do not get any help from other places in the Bible by comparing Scripture with Scripture. We can only see this word in this chapter, but it must be a plant. God prepared the gourd and it came up in a night and it then it withered. When we look at the word “withered,” it often has to do with a plant, so the gourd was a plant and it would have been fairly large to cast a shadow that would give Jonah any kind of relief.
So, Jonah first built the booth. How do you build a booth? What do you need to build it? You need to find branches, according to the directions given in Leviticus. Jonah found a good number of branches and he constructed the booth and sat in its shadow. The plant was raised up overnight and he was much more comfortable.
We know the booth came first, before the gourd. Because we have read ahead, we know that the gourd is going to wither and it will no longer provide its shadow and relief to Jonah. We know that after the gourd withered, the booth remained. The booth came first. The booth was there the entire time. The gourd rose up and after the gourd withered, the booth remained.
So, here are some questions we have when we read this passage:
By the way, in the original Hebrew text it says the gourd came up in a “son of the night” and perished in a “son of the night.”
We have a lot of questions. The first thing we can look at is the fact that this “gourd” was a plant. You know, the Bible is not like any other book. When you read other books that speak of plants, it refers to literal plants and things of that nature, but the Bible is a spiritual Book in which God uses things as types and figures. For example, the Bible uses trees as figures of men; the wicked are likened to the troubled sea; Christ is a Rock. We could go on and on. As we read these kinds of statements in the Bible, we develop a Biblical vocabulary. That is one reason we have done (and continue to do) mini-studies of “types and figures,” because it helps us to see how God defines a word in the Bible.
One thing I am sorry about is that we do not see more children at these Day in the Word studies, but we have some and we are grateful for them. But when children are learning a language, they learn vocabulary words. Why? It is because they can then pick up a book and read it and as they read they will understand what is written there. They are going to know what the writer of a book is saying. But the problem for some people when they try to read the Bible is that they have learned their vocabulary in the world’s school. They have learned English and the meaning of words. They may even have a college degree in grammar or English and they think they can understand what the Bible says. Well, you can understand the words on one level, but not on another level, because the Bible is written for the spiritual realm. In order to understand the spiritual meaning, we have to develop a Biblical vocabulary, as we see what this word or that word represents. That is why Jesus spoke in parables. It was to help us understand how to approach the Bible. Of course, it was not an easier way to help someone understand; it made it more difficult and, yet, He spoke in that way to teach people how they must approach the Word of God in order to gain spiritual understanding.
Regarding plants, it says in Psalm 144:12:
That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace:
So, it says that our sons may be as “plants.” There is the spiritual definition for the word “plants.” When we read about plants, we must consider whether it has to do with “sons.” Christ spoke a parable in Matthew 13, a chapter in which it tells us: “And without a parable, spake he not unto them.” It says in Matthew 13:3-6:
And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away.
Here, God is speaking of sowing seed, the growing process and some difficulties with growth of the seed and how some of the plants withered away. We are told the spiritual meaning in Matthew 13:18-21:
Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
We see that this has to do with people, even though it speaks of seeds and planting, and so forth. God is talking about the hearts of men. It is like plants being likened to sons. It is speaking about things that are planted as if they are people.
In Psalm 80, we are shown that when the Bible speaks of plants it has more in view than the plants. It says in Psalm 80:8-10:
Thou hast brought a vine out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the heathen, and planted it. Thou preparedst room before it, and didst cause it to take deep root, and it filled the land. The hills were covered with the shadow of it, and the boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars.
In Job 4, our plant gave “shadow” to Jonah. Here, God is speaking of a vine that came out of Egypt. What would that vine represent? Israel came out of Egypt and was planted. In this Psalm, it could not be referring to the Lord Jesus because it says in Psalm 8:11-15:
She sent out her boughs unto the sea, and her branches unto the river. Why hast thou then broken down her hedges, so that all they which pass by the way do pluck her? The boar out of the wood doth waste it, and the wild beast of the field doth devour it. Return, we beseech thee, O God of hosts: look down from heaven, and behold, and visit this vine; And the vineyard which thy right hand hath planted…
It is not Christ Himself, but what He planted, which would refer to Old Testament Israel and to the New Testament churches and congregations. And we can know it does not refer to Christ because it goes on to say in Psalm 8:16:
It is burned with fire, it is cut down: they perish at the rebuke of thy countenance.
Remember, God planted two vineyards or two plants that grew and multiplied. We read about one of them in Matthew, chapter 21 where there was a vineyard and God sent servants into His vineyard and they despised them and killed them. Finally, He sent His Son and they killed His Son, so God gave that vineyard and gave it to other husbandmen. Matthew 21 is speaking about the vineyard of national Israel. He is speaking of the vineyard of national Israel that produced the crop of the Lord Jesus Christ, but then God transitioned from national Israel to the New Testament churches and congregations. The New Testament describes the vineyard of Israel of the Old Testament, but where do we read of the New Testament vineyard? We read about it in the Old Testament in Isaiah 5:1-2:
Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine…
Again, we see that He “planted” it, just as the vine of Egypt was planted. Then it goes on to say in Isaiah 5:2-7:
… and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? 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. For the vineyard of JEHOVAH of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah his pleasant plant: and he looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry.
This vineyard was completely destroyed, so this is the vineyard of the New Testament churches and congregations, which God said were like a pleasant “plant.” And, of course, a plant could give a shadow, just as we read earlier in Psalm 80. Here, God is speaking of the corporate church as a “plant.”
It is also interesting that in the Garden of Eden, God planted a garden. It says in Genesis 2:8:
And JEHOVAH God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
JEHOVAH God planted a garden, just like Christ planted Israel and the New Testament churches and congregations. If any of you have read Mr. Camping’s book, “The Glorious Garden of Eden,” you will remember that Mr. Camping spent some time pondering why God would set aside a specific garden when everything in the entire world would have been lush and green and perfect and, yet, God set a boundary of the Garden of Eden. And in that garden, He planted trees, one of which was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The reason was that God was already indicating that He would establish outward representations of the kingdom of God on this earth. That was what the Garden of Eden represented. That was what Israel represented in the Old Testament. And that was what the New Testament churches and congregations represented. They were the outward representation of the kingdom of God on the earth.
We read these things and then we go back to Jonah, chapter 4 and we see that God speaks of a gourd. It is a plant that has been raised up. It came up in a night and perished in a night. We want to think this through to answer the questions I mentioned earlier. It says in Jonah 4:5:
So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth…
The booth identifies with the Word of God or the commandments of God because the cloud and the fiery pillar that guided Israel for 40 years in the wilderness identify with the Word of God, the Bible. So, too, the Feast of Tabernacles, according to Nehemiah 8, is greatly associated with the Word of God. It is the “feast of the Bible.” This is why we can understand that the booth came first because it is the Word of God, the Bible, and God’s Word is eternal and endureth forever. And, of course, it will outlast any outward representations of the kingdom of heaven, will it not? We begin with the Word of God, the Bible, and then there could be a Garden of Eden at some point in time, but then the Garden of Eden sees corruption and goes away. Then at a later point in time, God has another “planting,” the vineyard of Old Testament Israel, to be His representatives to the nation of the world. But after some time, they were taken away due to their unfaithfulness. Then God planted the New Testament churches and congregations that lasted almost two thousand years. God had a plan to visit them at the end of time to see if they had remained faithful. When they were found unfaithful, what did He do? He destroyed them by removing the Spirit of God from the midst of the churches. What happened to that “plant” when the Spirit of God leaves it? It immediately withered because the life of the plant, spiritually, is gone because the life is in Christ Himself and when God departs out of the midst, the plant has no life. We can read about that in John 15:1:
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.
The true vine must be distinguished from false vines. False vines would be those trusted in by national Israel or trusted in by the corporate churches – they are false vines. When we look at what happened to Jonah, it is very significant that he initially dwelt in a booth and he had shadow. Then shade came with this plant that rose up in a night and perished in a night and it gave even more comfort to him. You know, people can come to trust in that comfort – they can trust in a doctrine or a theology that is a “high place” in the churches and congregations. They can trust in the security that they perceive is provided by the churches because the churches have been here for almost two thousand years and they think they will continue to the end of the world.
In striking the “gourd,” it says in Jonah 4:7:
But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.
The gourd was destroyed by a “worm” and who does the worm represent? It represents the Lord Jesus. In Psalm 22, which is a Messianic Psalm, it says in Psalm 22:6:
But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
Again, we must allow the Bible to define its own terms and God provides the spiritual definitions for words. Of course, we would not think that Jesus was a “worm.” That would be the last kind of connection we would make to the Lord Jesus Christ, but when He was under the wrath of God this Psalm is revealing that as Christ suffered under the wrath of God it is said, “But I am a worm, and no man.” It also says in Mark 9:43-44:
And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
The fire is not quenched because our God is a consuming fire. The fire that destroys unsaved man is spoken of as an everlasting destruction, which points to God. So, too, the “worm” that dieth not and destroys the sinner is the Lord Jesus Christ and He lives for evermore. The statement that the “worm dieth not” is repeated a couple more times in this passage. Just as the “fire” ties in with God, so, too, does the “worm.”
So, it was the “worm” or the Lord Jesus Christ that struck the gourd and caused it to wither. It was the Lord Jesus Christ that struck the corporate church. It was not Satan that destroyed the churches. It was God. God destroyed the churches the moment He departed out of the midst. In the instant that God left the churches and congregations, they were done. They had no more life. They had no more water of the Gospel and they immediately withered away. This resulted in the end of the church age and the situation now in all the churches in the world is that they are dead. There is not a corporate church anywhere in the world that has life because they do not have Christ. They do not possess the necessary things for spiritual life. They lack all these things and they are withered away. Today we still see churches on the street corners and we may hear reports about this church or that church, but they are reports from a “withered vine.” There is nothing true or faithful that would cause us to think that the Spirit of God is, once again, in their midst. It is not possible. It cannot be and it will never be.
When the vine withered, what was left? It was the booth that Jonah originally built and sat under. The booth identifies with the Word of God, the Bible. Yes, in various times and seasons there could be these vineyards or plants that arise and provide some sort of comfort and, yet, the true protection from the hot sun is in the “booth.” It is in the booth and God did not take that booth away from Jonah. God did not strike the booth. He did not do anything to damage the booth, but it remained.
So, we can see that God judged the corporate church in 1988 when the Holy Spirit left, but in 1994 God officially blew the trumpet of the Jubilee. If you go to Joshua, chapter 6 and read about the fall of Jericho, it had to do with the blowing of the Jubilee. We saw that there were seven priests blowing the trumpets, which identified with the seven angels in the Book of Revelation that began to blow after the “about half an hour silence in heaven,” in Revelation, chapter 8. The “half hour of silence” identifies with the period from May 1988 to September 1994 and then the first angel began to blow the trumpet and that coincided with the blowing of the trumpet of the Jubilee.
It goes on to say in Jonah 4:8:
And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live.
The reason why the sun is beating down even hotter after the gourd is smitten ties in with the Great Tribulation and the Day of Judgment. How long will Jonah be sitting in the booth? How long will he be waiting? He is going to wait the 40 days to see what will become of the city, obviously. That is why he is waiting on the outskirts of town sitting under a booth; he wants to see the outcome and he must wait 40 days.
If this 40-day period points to a 40-year period (if we are correct), then the 40th inclusive year from 1994 will be 2033 A.D., so he will be in the booth, as it were, from 1994 to 2033. That spans a large portion of the Great Tribulation or the last about 17 years of the Latter Rain and it would continue from 2011 through 2033, which is the “second tribulation” or the recompence of tribulation. We had thought there would be just one Tribulation and that is why we had hoped that May 21, 2011 would end the only Tribulation and it would be Judgment Day and God would rapture His people. But God is in control of opening the understanding of His people, and we did not understand that there is a recompence or repayment of tribulation for the ones that had troubled us. This would apply to the kingdom of Satan and all the unsaved inhabitants of the world that had troubled the elect people of God and had come against the camp of the saints. That Tribulation lasted for 23 years, from May 21, 1988 through May 21, 2011.
Then God turned around and commanded that the cup (of His wrath) be given to the nations that they had given to the churches and it says in Revelation, chapter 18: “Reward her even as she awarded you, and double unto her double…” It also says in 2Thessalonians, chapter 1 that there is a recompence or repayment of tribulation.
So, now we find that there is a 22-year actual period of time or 23-year inclusive period of time that takes us from 2011 to the same date of 2033 A.D., which is also that 40th inclusive year of 2033 A.D. This is helpful to us. It is helpful that we are getting a more complete understanding of the overall timeline. We know we have need of patience after having done the will of God in ministering the Word of God to the world in the day of salvation. However, we did not know how long it would be, but now we are being given an understanding of a time duration in which it seems God will work out the entire process of Judgment Day. He tells us not to faint at His tribulations for us, as it says in Ephesians 3:13:
Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.
He will give tribulation, anguish and wrath to every soul of man. It would be to the “Jew” first, which represents the corporate church and, secondly, to the “Gentile,” the kingdom of this world.
I think we will stop here. Lord willing, in our next study we will probably finish the Book of Jonah, in Jonah, chapter 4 at the next Day in the Word and then we will go on to other things.