The sign of Jonah

The Sign of Jonah


“If the matter doesn’t follow,

nor does it happen,

it is a matter which YHVH has not spoken”!

(Deuteronomy 18:22).

Certain scribes and Pharisees asked Jesus for a “sign” as proof of his messiaship. Jesus answered, “there shall NO sign be given… other than the sign of the prophet Jonah. For as Jonah 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!” Matthew 12:39-40.

NO SIGN?! Why didn’t Jesus tell them he was born a “virgin”, born in Bethlehem of the seed of David; was to enter Jerusalem on an ass; was to be betrayed; was to die of crucifixion etc. etc. etc., to mention only some of the “signs” Christian produce to “prove” Jesus’ messiaship?? The answer, of course, is that Jesus knew NOTHING of these alleged signs, which were “discovered” long after he was dead and buried, by Church exegetes scrounging around in the Hebrew Scripture for “proof texts”.

But what of the sign Jesus himself (supposedly) did give to that generation – the sign of the prophet Jonah!? Jonah was in the belly of the whale for three days AND three nights. The ONLY sign Jesus could produce was that he would be in the heart of the earth (the tomb!) for three days and three nights. But was he ??

“And when evening was come, because it was the preparation, the day before the Sabbath (Friday), there came Joseph of Arimathaea “… and laid him (Jesus) in a tomb…” Mark 15:42-46. “And very early on the first day of the week (Sunday) when the sun was risen (John 20:1 says “while it was yet dark! … which is correct?) they came to the tomb…” March 16:2. Wring and squeeze these passages as we may, we won’t get more than two nights (Friday night and Saturday night) and one day – Saturday, the Sabbath! Obviously, Jesus failed to fulfill the three day-three night “sign” of the prophet Jonah. But that’s NOT the end of the problem! We read in Matthew 16:21, Mark 8:31, Luke 9:22 that Jesus began telling his disciples that he would be killed but would RISE AGAIN on the third day (or after three days had passed, according to Mark)! But in John 20:9, we read an amazing statement: “for as yet THEY KNEW NOT THE SCRIPTURE THAT HE MUST RISE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD!” Previously we were told that Jesus had specifically mentioned his death and resurrection to his disciples! Now, at this late date, we are told that Simon, Peter and the disciple “whom Jesus loved” never heard about any resurrection “for as yet they knew NOT the scripture that he must rise again…”!! They assumed, with Mary Magdalene, that Jesus’ corpse had been removed to another unknown tomb! (ibid. verse 2-8.) Didn’t they know about the ONLY SIGN ever to that generation? Or is the entire tale of clumsy fiction created to restore faith to a band of disappointed, disillusioned believers who had been expecting the Kingdom of God; but got instead a crucified, frustrated would-be “messiah” who brought neither freedom, peace, nor redemption to his followers, his people, and the world?!

The sign of the prophet Jonah… the sign that never was!

By: Mordecai Alfandari