The Sign of Jonah

by millie210 18 Replies latest watchtower bible

  • millie210

    Calling you Bible scholars!

    I was asked this:

    How can this apply to Jesus when he was not in the grave for 3 nights?

    I dont have access to the Watchtower library from where I am and I am wondering what the official "Witness" teaching is and more importantly, what the real truth is.

    "An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, and no sign will be given to it except 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" (Mt 12:40)

    Any and all help appreciated~thanks, Millie

  • Splash

    The corresponding WT explanation goes like:

    *** w96 5/15 p. 28 Jonah Learns About Jehovah’s Mercy ***
    Jesus was dead and in the tomb for at least a period of time on Nisan 14, was entombed throughout the entire day of Nisan 15, and spent the nighttime hours of Nisan 16 in the tomb. When certain women came to the tomb on Sunday morning, he had already been resurrected.
    Jesus was in the tomb for parts of three days. His foes thus got “the sign of Jonah.

  • millie210

    First, thank you Splash, I am at work and this is the topic among the JWs here.

    I dont have access to research right now so I appreciate your response greatly.

    All I have available is a very worn copy of "The Greatest Man" book and interestingly it doesnt discuss it in detail AT ALL.

    I just googled this and apparently it is a big deal?

    I didnt realize....

    thanks again.

  • Splash

    Barnes commentary notes something interesting to account for the fact Jesus was NOT in the ground for three days and nights.

    "It will be seen in the account of the resurrection of Christ that he was in the grave but two nights and a part of three days. This computation is, however, strictly in accordance with the Jewish mode of reckoning. If it had “not” been, the Jews would have understood it, and would have charged our Saviour as being a false prophet, for it was well known to them that he had spoken this prophecy (Mat_27:63). Such a charge, however, was never made; and it is plain, therefore, that what was “meant” by the prediction was accomplished. It was a maxim, also, among the Jews, in computing time, that a part of a day was to be received as the whole. Many instances of this kind occur in both sacred and profane history."

  • R. Jerome Harris
    R. Jerome Harris
    Respectfully, the sign of Jonah has more to do with the promised resurrection of ALL of mankind than the literal death of Jesus and his spending three days in his grave. Jonah - a man who lived BEFORE Christ - is mentioned here too.
    Jesus was speaking of something much greater here at Matthew 12:40: The promised "Great Resurrection" of ALL of mankind. (John 5:28-29)
    At Matthew 24:30 - and in answer to the question his disciples asked at Matthew 24:3 - Jesus mentions a sign that will be seen in heaven. That is, a sign seen only by those who reside in heaven. That sign - or single event - is the coronation and enthronement of Christ as King over the earth for 1000 years.
    One of his first acts as King over the earth is to resurrect ALL of dead mankind, to include persons born since Adam to include Adam. This is a promise.
    No sign will EVER be given to mankind, which has ALWAYS been adulterous in worshiping other gods except the one associated with the one seen in heaven.
    Jonah was a man. He came out of the belly of the great fish after three nights. This sign referred to here is ALL of mankind being called out of their graves in the distant future. It shows that a person (dead) can spend time in the grave and come out live!
    That Christ spent three days and his nights have no meaning to most people as that happened more than 200 years ago. But it DOES have meaning when it is applied to ALL of mankind for who Jesus died for.
    In other words, if Christ died and rose again, so shall all of mankind who have died. Yes, those who died BEFORE Christ came on the earthly scene. The sign of Jonah is the promised resurrection of ALL of mankind.
    (See The Apostle Pauls talk to the congregation in Thessalonica at 1 Thess 4:13-18)
  • sowhatnow
    he was busy preaching to the spirits in the prisons. ?.
  • millie210

    Thank you Splash for the Barnes commentary. That was exactly the right thing for me to read.

    So the Jews understood a part of a day to mean "a day". That is why it was never challenged.

    This was really helpful!


    Thank you for your comment R.Jerome Harris,

    What you have written is deep and insightful.

    I am going to print out what you have written so I can explore what you and Splash have both posted for me.

    You have been so helpful and I appreciate your giving me part of your day on such short notice. Thank you R.J.H.!

  • millie210
    sowhatnowan hour agohe was busy preaching to the spirits in the prisons. ?.

    Yes, that is also a curiosity, isnt it?

  • Crazyguy
    The writer of the book of Matthew tried his best to make it as though the character Jesus fulfilled so called prophecies from the old testament. He did a lousy job and this is just another example. Another one is stating that Jesus was a Nazarite but then thinking this must mean he was from an area or city named Nazareth. A Nazarite is a type of person not a person from a place.
  • millie210

    That is another good point Crazyguy.

    A lot of it does seem retro-fitted doesnt it?

    I now understand (thanks to you all) what the prophecy was supposed to mean and how it was taken by the Jews.

    Does anyone if the Org had ever had a stand alone opinion on this passage or do they just go along with all the commentaries?

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