This is the most significant piece of scripture in the entire New Testament, the sign of Jonah, where we place our hope of salvation upon the one who fulfills this very sign. Question is did Jesus (Yeshua) fulfill the sign or did He not fulfill it? This would make the scripture in Corinthians true and thus “…then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain” (1Co15:14). Another question is could we have been following traditions and ignoring the truth and Yeshua (Jesus) really did fulfill the ONE and ONLY sign that will be given as proof of who you should place your trust in. Let’s look at the scripture:
“For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.” Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign shall be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; for just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. (Mat 12:37-40 NAS)
Trapping by the scribes and Pharisees
The scribes, believing they were far superior in scripture knowledge to the lay person like Jesus (Yeshua), at many times tried to trap His in his words. Then out of the mouth of Yeshua (Jesus) comes the famous phrase of ‘by your words you are justified, by your words you are condemned.’ So we place ourselves into the time and location of a group of seething church leaders who were just called a “brood of vipers” and seeing an opening they pounce upon the one claiming that YHVH (God) in heaven is actually His father.
They want to fully trap him and ask him to give them a sign. They wanted to see a miracle performed right there at their beckoning call. Yeshua is far smarter than they give credit and speaks a prophetic words for them to measure, the Sign of Jonah given to the men of Nineveh, a province in Iraq that was just freed from ISIS: What is the ONE sign we hang our hope of salvation upon?
just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth
Jonah goes fishing
Looking at the sign of Jonah we need to recap the story. Jonah was sent to the people of Nineveh of YHVH (the LORD) to preach the gospel of repentance. Wait, Jesus (Yeshua) was sent to the lost sheep of Israel to preach the gospel of repentance. The LORD (YHVH) sent a great fish to swallow Jonah and thus Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for…Three days and Three nights. Okay, Yeshua (Jesus) was in the belly of the earth… Wait I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s see the scripture:
And the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights. (Jon 1:17 NAS)
What is very interesting is the similarity of what happened when the sailors tossed Jonah into the sea and suddenly the sea stopped its raging and there was calm. When the sailors saw that Jonah was telling the truth about YHVH (the LORD) they immediately feared Him and offered sacrifices and vows to YHVH (the LORD).
Looking under the microscope of truth
Today in the Christian world is the day we recognize that Jesus (Yeshua) went to the cross, was crucified and died. The time line is like this:
- Thursday night: The arrest of Jesus
- Early Friday Morning before light: The mock trial of Jesus at the hands of Caiaphas
- Friday morning: Jesus taken to Pilate for permission to kill him. Pilate washes his hands of this situation
- Friday at the sixth hour (noon): Darkness falls across the land for three hours
- Friday at the ninth hour (3:00 pm): Jesus cries out and gives up His spirit.
- Friday evening: Jesus taken down and placed in the tomb by Joseph of Arimathea
So here is the time line from Matthew chapters 26 and 27. The glorious sign starts, three days and three nights. We start the count at evening this very day, counting out and understanding the tremendous price paid for the redemption of all of mankind. Friday Night… Saturday day… Saturday night…