John, a Believer Asked:

I understand Jonah's account of 3 days in the belly of the great fish to be likened to that of Christ's three days in the grave, but I see one difference. The Bible I read doesn't say that Jonah died. In Jonah 2:1, the Scripture says, "Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly," What's up with this?


Our reply,
God Bless you, and thank you for writing. We understand that many people have trouble with the traditional teaching that Jonah was alive in the great fish's belly for the entire three days and nights. We are sure we have similar Bibles, but we will show the Hebrew on the keywords. First, we ask you to consider that if you, being a believer like Jonah, were thrown into the ocean during a ferocious storm and swallowed by a great fish (sea monster) in those moments before your certain demise, you would also be praying as fast and furiously as possible. If you found yourself back on shore alive three days and three nights later, we are convinced you would be giving God the glory. Now, let's look at the record.

First, the length of his stay.

Jonah 1:17  Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights.

Now, the events of his stay.

Jonah 2:1  Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish's belly,

Jonah 2:2  And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.

Hell = Sheol or Hades, the world of the dead (it seems he knew this was a death sentence and where he was soon heading).

Jonah 2:3  For thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.

He is already underwater as the waves pass over him.

Jonah 2:4  Then I said, I am cast out of thy sight; yet I will look again toward thy holy temple.

Jonah 2:5  The waters compassed me about, even to the soul: the depth closed me round about, the weeds were wrapped about my head.

Waters compassing his soul = nephesh defined as a breathing creature (still underwater thus unable to breathe) weeds around his head (further affirmation of being still underwater)

Jonah 2:6  I went down to the bottoms of the mountains; the earth with her bars was about me for ever: yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.

Here, he goes down to the bottom of the mountains, thus being buried underwater by the usage of bars or a watery prison. He then shows positively his death as he claims, "Yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God." Corruption = shachath, meaning destruction, corruption, destruction, ditch, grave, pit. He could not be delivered from this state unless he was behind its bars under tremendous pressure from the depths of the mountain's underwater grave.

Jonah 2:7  When my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD: and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple.

fainted = ataph to be overwhelmed but confident God will supply his salvation.

Jonah 2:8  They that observe lying vanities forsake their own mercy.

Jonah 2:9  But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.

Jonah 2:10  And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

Now, let's look at the most important evidence of all.

Mat 12:38  Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee.

Mat 12:39  But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

Mat 12:40  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.

So we must ask ourselves, how was Jesus Christ in the heart of the earth? So, how must Jonah have been in the great fish's belly? What kind of sign could Jonah have been if he wasn't dead, and if Jonah wasn't dead, then was Christ not raised from the dead? Any answer other than being dead would be the end of the Christian faith, so why do so many cleave unto tradition and ignore The Truth? Fear is the only possible answer, but:

1 John 4:18  There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

John 8:32  And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

All God's Blessings,
The Believers

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