Light and Dark – Jonah

Jonah was in a fish! It was dark in there! Him being spit out put him back into light.  This signals the time Jesus would spend in the grave. The first mention of Jonah is in 2 Kings 14: 25 where he is credited with a prophesy that came true, the story of the Book of Jonah would have been after this.

The thing that leaves you hanging about Jonah is what happened to him?  Did he repent of the harsh attitude, did he go back to Israel, or did he just stay bitter?  

Peter was identified as “bar Jonah” or son of Jonah.  It would be a stretch to say they were related!  Matthew 16: 17 does not seem to imply that Jesus was being “funny”, so that probably was Peter’s name.  Peter may have had similar traits as Jonah (hard-headed, impulsive, teachable but slow to change), so we can hope that Jonah returned to God like Peter did.  

ThreeThree days and three nights is the most notable part of Jonah’s ordeal.  That is because it has three references in the New Testament – two different times in Matthew (12: 41 + 16: 4) and one repeat in Luke (11: 29).  Jesus offered it as the only sign from heaven that unbelieving Jews would get.  I noticed that there were three “God provided” after Jonah preached to Nineveh – the plant, the worm, and the wind.  There was also a three day walk across the city.

The study of Solomon, Jesus walking on water, and this one, all have connections to the festivals that happen in the seventh month”. (Jonah is read as an example of repenting and reaching out to a Gentile nation.)

End and Start – Jonah’s time in the fish ended his disobedience and started his journey to face his fear of being labeled a “false prophet” if Nineveh was not destroyed.  At this time in history, Assyria was oppressing Israel and would send a replacement population to occupy Samaria. So, Jonah had serious reasons, in his mind, why he was not going to do it (hatred of Assyria, fear of being a false prophet).  Even though other prophets had dealings with foreign nations this was the first prophet that was specifically sent to an enemy nation telling them to repent!

FURTHER THOUGHT – Have you done a “Jonah”? Have you ever tried to run from something that Jesus wanted you to do?  How did it end?

Passover to Pentecost – Jesus’ Four

The time period of Passover to Pentecost (Counting the Omer) is, was, and will be an important event in the history of the Jews but also for Christians!  It defined the start of the Jewish calendar and propelled them as a group to gain the “Promised Land.”  Jesus’ life and ministry were to fulfill the “type and shadow” of Passover and the meeting of God in the desert.  The work of salvation had to be finished at Passover!  Jesus, however, had other tasks to accomplish: send the Holy Spirit and birth His Church!

In Jesus’ life, there are four recorded Passovers in the Gospels.  John, in his Gospel, used the term “Passover” the most and records three of the four Feast.  Luke talks about two of them and Mark and Matthew cover the last one where He was offered up as our sacrifice. The four recorded Passovers and Counting of the Omers are:

  • Luke 2:11; He also writes the story of the Ascension to Pentecost.
  • John 2:13 to 4:43 (this ending story is a guess)
  • John 6:4 to 7:1
  • John 12 to 21 and continues into the Book of Acts. (See After the Cloud)

One thing that all four of these Passovers have in common is that Jesus returns to Galilee.

  1. In Luke 2 Jesus was twelve when He gave His parents a prelude to His ministry. A fun thought here is Nicodemus may have been present for that question and answer session.
  2. The second recorded Passover was the start of Jesus’ public ministry. Nicodemus was definitely part of this story and he was in a question and answer session with Jesus.  The time frame of John 2 to 4, I chose for the “Counting of the Omer” because of what happened in these chapters.  Jesus and the disciples were baptizing (in the Jordan) and going to Jacob’s Well in Samaria, this is where Joshua went during his “first fifty” days, and the “blessings and curses” were read on the two mountains.
  3. Jesus’ “second Passover” in His ministry period is not well defined. In John 6 and 7 more “shadowing and mirroring” is done: Jesus feeds the 5000, talks about manna and the true Bread of Life, and foretells Judas’ betrayal.  The group ends back up in Galilee and the next reference in the chapter is to the Feast of Tabernacles (7thmonth of the year).
  4. The third and final Passover is what Christians now associate with Easter. (See the Day of Preparation.)

The Tribes of Israel and Shechem

Shechem in Genesis 33 and 34 is a family and a town. In my tribe series, its importance is that it is the places where Simeon and Levi incur their father’s wrath by killing all the men of Shechem. It is also where Jacob built an altar and bought a piece of land that he later gave to Joseph.

After Joshua brought the children into the Promised Land they were instructed in Deuteronomy 27 to have some tribes stand on Mount Gerizim and pronounce blessings for Israel and the other tribes to stand on Mount Ebal to pronounce curses.

The land went to Ephraim in the allotment and Shechem became a city of refuge as stated in Joshua 17:17.

We see it again in Judges 9 being associated with Abimelech.

When the Northern Kingdom went into exile the Samaritans were brought in to occupy the land.  They accepted some of the beliefs of Israel; one thing they did was to build a shrine on Mt. Gerizim to offer sacrifices. Years later in John 4 Jesus meet the women at the well in a town of Sychar, which is believed to be Shechem. If you remember this meeting was at Jacob’s well.

Hezekiah Part 3

Hezekiah’s world, like ours, seems to have someone in the Middle East attacking people. For him, it was Assyria, Ahaz his father had made a treaty with them, who had captured and exported the Northern Kingdom of Israel. An interesting way they had of subjugating a conquered people was to export part or all of the population to a new location. Assyria did this in 1 Chronicles 5:26 and in 2 Kings 17:6, 18:11 to Israel; the promise was a nice location and prosperity. This promise was in 2 Kings 18:31 and included a vine (grape), fig tree, and their own water supply. Israel was sent to the Harbor River area.

Samaritans of the New Testament were and are the people that foreign kings brought into the area when the Northern Kingdom was conquered.  They had/have some of the customs of Jews but held onto their own gods. Their story starts in 2 Kings 17:24 and there is still a remnant of them in Israel today. Jesus uses the Good Samaritan and had a period of teaching in Samaria after meeting with the women by the well.

Isaiah the prophet, now an old man, had served four kings and Hezekiah would be his fifth. Isaiah 6, his commission, was with Uzziah (Azariah) who ruled 52 years, there was a co-regency with Jotham who ruled 16 years, Ahaz ruled 16 years and Hezekiah ruled 29 years so he had seen a lot by the time he started helping Hezekiah. The Northern Kingdom had been deported and Assyria had changed rulers at least once; Assyria is mentioned in Isaiah 8 and again in chapter 10 and 14. It comes in again in chapter 36 in Hezekiah’s 14th year. (see My Timeline) It is interesting that Hezekiah’s story ends in chapter 39. Someone pointed out that Isaiah has 66 chapters like the Bible has 66 books and chapter 40 compares to the beginning of the New Testament.  Like the hope that comes with the New Testament chapter 40 starts with “comfort, comfort my people” and ends with mounting on wings of eagles. (see Waiting on God post)

Egypt is still a power at this time and is in conflict with Assyria for who is going to control the world. Judah apparently has gone to them for help in the past and the Lord in several places condemns and warns about that practice through Isaiah in chapter 31.  Josiah in chapter 35 tries to block Egypt when they are going to fight Assyria and he pays for it with his life; Neco of Egypt punishes Judah and its kings for its interference. Egypt’s power is finally broken by Babylon and has never really risen to world power again.

Wikipedia says that the Habor and the Chobar in Ezekiel are the same while these two sources say no, the Chobar is a canal further south.