Sign of Jonah

The question I’m having is, Christ gave us the sign of Jonah resembling his crucifixion. He said just as Jonah, son of man will be in earth for 3 days.
I’ve heard from a Islamic preacher that Jonah was not dead in the whals so is Jesus. Hence Jesus was not dead.
How to approach this kind of attack?

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Praise the Lord, brother. I also once had this doubt. There are several points that you should consider when replying to these kind of arguments.

*The phrase ‘Heart of the earth’ refers to the grave of Jesus.

*Multiple times, in the Gospels, Jesus says that He will handed over to the Gentiles and killed.
Eg:- Luke 9:22-27

*Old Testament also speaks about Jesus’ death.
Eg:- Isaiah 53
Daniel 9

*Genesis 22 : 14 -So Abraham called that place The Lord Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided.”

It was on the same mount Jesus was crucified.

*Modern historians, even skeptics, say that Jesus of Nazareth was crucified under Pontius Pilate.
So remember that heart of the earth sybolises grave and there is enough evidence from NT, OT and modern study of history.

Jesus absolutely did die. That’s one thing historians know for sure. Even outside the bible, his death was spoken of.

Reporting on Emperor Nero’s decision to blame the Christians for the fire that had destroyed Rome in A.D. 64, the Roman historian Tacitus wrote:

“Nero fastened the guilt … on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of … Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil but even in Rome…”

Letters of Pliny the Younger to Emperor Trajan:

Pliny was the Roman governor of Bithynia in Asia Minor. In one of his letters, dated around A.D. 112, he asks Trajan’s advice about the appropriate way to conduct legal proceedings against those accused of being Christians.[8] Pliny says that he needed to consult the emperor about this issue because a great multitude of every age, class, and sex stood accused of Christianity.

So as you can see here Jesus’s death was a real thing that happened in history, it’s pretty much universally accepted amongst historical scholars Christian, Jew, and Atheist alike. Now in the book of Jonah here is the passage from the beginning of chapter 2.

From inside the fish Jonah prayed to the LORD his God, 2 saying:

“In my distress I called to the LORD

and He answered me.

From the belly of Sheol I called for help,

and You heard my voice.

Sheol in this passage is the actual word (sheh-ole’) in Hebrew. This is the place of the dead. You can do a small word study on it through this link if you want.

Some took Jonah literally and others didn’t. This prayer he is saying is being said while in the fish I do believe so I’m not sure how God did everything exactly. But one thing we do know for sure Jonah was in the belly of the fish for 3 days and Jesus was dead for 3 days. Jesus did die many saw it and history recorded it. While the Muslim preacher may not believe the bible he should believe the rest of history. Only in his book, the Quran, does it say that Jesus didn’t die and if it makes that claim then he needs to give better evidence that supports that claim. But he can’t which is why he is twisting scripture, unfortunately.

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This seems to be a classic example of someone taking a metaphor too far. As far as I understand, Jesus doesn’t have to be like Jonah in every way for Jesus’ metaphor to work. The only parallel Jesus is drawing is to the number of days spent inside the ‘belly’. He does not extend it to bodily death. :slight_smile:


Good question, Anuraag @Anuraag. That Jesus died can be both historically and medically proven.
I am not a doctor, so this link will explain it further. Simply stated, crucifixion causes fluid to collect around the heart and lungs. So, when Jesus was pierced, both blood and water flowed from His side. This was a sure medical sign that Jesus was dead, along with the historical statement that the soldiers could see He was dead, therefore, did not break His legs.
Psalm 16:10 portrays the crucified Christ not being abandoned nor decayed in Sheol, where He would descend.

In terms of Jesus comparing Himself with Jonah, I think we also must think in terms of His resurrection. We know that Jesus went and preached to the souls in “prison” from Noah’s day (1Pet. 3: 19-20).
That He would rise in three days is seen in 1Cor. 15:4 where Paul confirms what Jesus prophesied about Himself (Matt.16:21; 17:22, 23) in addition to His statement comparing Jonah to Himself. (Matt. 16: 4)

Jonah came out of the belly of the great fish alive after three days. Jesus claimed He would come out of the grave after three days. By Jesus coming out of the grave and being seen, His death was not only proven (as stated above), but His resurrection to life was validated as well. (1Cor. 15:6).

OK - First the metaphor “In the belly of a fish/whale” was an old saying used at the time to reflect a person was having a terrible time and not necessarily actually in the belly of a fish. Thus the metaphor actually fits as Jesus’ three days was a time of trial against “DEATH”. Second, Jesus’ material body lay dead however his Spirit never died but transformed the dead body back to life as proof of his conquering even “DEATH”. I’m told that the name Jonah translate back to “DOVE” which also is a metaphor for “SPIRIT” as when Jesus was baptized with the Holy Spirit in the form of a DOVE. It’s no accident that Jesus chose this metaphor. Our association with the Holy Spirit (Faith in Jesus and his WORD) as Paul taught, insures that we also never die.

I would like to add a few points to ponder.
John says in 19: 26-27 When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.
Mary’s heart had been broken, seen a lot heard alot been through all that happened with Jesus all His life. This one passage demonstrates His great love for His Mother, remember he was the eldest child of the family and Dad was gone. I can not fathom any rational normal human being albeit Jesus putting or hurting thier Mother with the charade of faking His death.
Secondly scripture gives no detailed specifics to the exact goings on or time frame that happened during those days in the tomb. The stone was not so He could come out it was so we could have access. Who knows when this happened
Ephesians 4:8‭-‬9 KJV Therefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?
I trust you see where I am coming from with this?

All examples are given for the listener to understand specific inferences

In this case it is the three days that is the point. The whale represents the grave.

However one could say, Jonah being alive in the whale still fits. Jonah for a human that for all intents and purposes was dead, or would be after the stomach acids finished with his body. In the same way Jesus’ body was dead, yet his spirit, who he is, was alive and preaching to the people in the bosom of Abraham (1 Peter 3:18-22.).

There is much to unpack from the story of Jonah - Jonah, because of his lack of self-confidence goes against God who directed him to Nineveh and pays for that with a near death experience (the fish). He then is redirected to Nineveh (by God) anyway. It’s important to know that the people of Nineveh worshiped Dagan the fish god and thus being delivered to the people of Nineveh via a fish was the key to convincing the people to head Jonah’s warning and repent (change) and be reborn. Thus the point of the three days is significant for what he did in the fish - as a period of praying and being reborn in God’s Love thru faith as reflected in Jonah’s prayer. Take away is that We must first Trust God, second follow His Lead, and third, realize that God Loves all creatures even if they, “…don’t know their right hand from their left…” and we should likewise, also Love all creatures. LOVE is the ONLY answer.